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Arthur Christmas (2011)
The Christmas Heart
Arthur Christmas is one of those animated films that throws too much craziness throughout the adventure and ends with a powerful heartwarming twist. There is an animated film just released this year and last year that is really similar to the storyline of this(Despicable Me and Mars Needs Moms). The plot is too simple but the whole matter goes to the heart and the comedy because it's a family movie. It works well enough but it could have been better if the adventure is quite interesting and less mediocre. It's also good as a Christmas movie. It has the true heart of the holiday. Arthur Christmas might be one of the best holiday films I've seen this year so far.
Arthur Christmas is a futuristic turn to the life's work of Santa Claus. It's a great concept. From sleigh and reindeers to a flying ship. But the whole story belongs to Santa's son, Arthur. His heart really shines the very small plot and makes it bigger. It's disappointing in the second act though. It relies to nothing but throwing all the gags they could give. GrandSanta keeps going to the wrong way and do something crazy all around the world. It feels mediocre and extraneous. But it can be pretty fun though. The third act saves most of the film. Bringing back the true heart and spirit of Christmas.
The characters are fun. No wonder, this is Aardman and they always have great character development. The CGI is really solid. It's not clay animation nor a CGI animation that tries to look like stop motion. It's just solid. The score keeps the spirits up. The performances were great. James McAvoy makes Arthur a one lovable dork. We loved it. Hugh Laurie and Jim Broadbent are both delightful and Bill Nighy nearly steals the show. He has the best gags. Grandsanta's loyalty to his generation and his crazy antics. The rest of the cast are also fun.
Saddest thing about Aardman, most of their movies (besides of Chicken Rush and Wallace and Gromit) ends up being forgettable even though they are pretty good and imaginative. And it looks like Arthur Christmas didn't do well in the box office. Well, I strongly recommend Arthur Christmas this Holiday. It's a perfect Christmas movie to watch this year. The second act may be crazy and mediocre but the film ends beautifully. Then there, I saw this in 3D, it ends giving me a smile in my face, ran away when the song in the end credits started, and is happy.
Not Enough Fascination
It's too obvious to compare Immortals to 300 since it has the same producer and the sky and slow-mo violence are also in it. But for me, don't get me wrong, it's like Tron Legacy. It wastes a lot of good merits. Even the tone is great. It's great for a blockbuster epic. The visuals, production designs, and the costumes are fascinating but it lacks a better plot. Tarsem Singh isn't quite much of a storyteller. He only makes his costumes look fascinating. It could be entertaining and fun but it feels unsatisfying.
Let's start with the performances, Henry Cavill hams it up when he's yelling but it's good when he's not. His fighting is pretty good though. Stephen Dorff could have been a good back up if he's not underused. Mickey Rourke is always a threatening villain. Frieda Pinto plays another pointless role in a blockbuster film. The best goes to the gods. Luke Evans and Isabel Lucas are both soulful to their roles. Evans should've gotten more screen time though. Nothing goes wrong with John Hurt. He's a pro.
The visuals are undeniably great. The costumes are truly fascinating. Especially the ones where the Virgin Oracle was introduced to Theseus and the other slaves. The action is impressive. Fanboys may love it for the non-stop violence and exploding heads. Some people may call the CGI inferior but it's actually not. It's probably unique and not headache big unlike the rest of the blockbusters out there with too much CGI.
Since the filmmaking is solid, the storytelling limits the fascination. The characters doesn't do anything necessary to the story until the end. It's disappointing. With all the decent narration in the beginning and a great tone. The gods doesn't showed that much. But what's more disappointing is the fight of the Minotaur is like it's just another fight sequence. He got the bow there but the fight seems just nothing. The film could have been better if the director was more interested with Greek Mythology.
People who liked 300 or any gory violent film may still find this ridiculously entertaining and fun. I gotta admit, this is pretty awesome but the storytelling is just too disappointing to make this good. If this movie has another director who can make the slow moments better and Singh makes the visuals, violence and costumes, the film might work better. Greek Mythology fans will definitely be disappointed but if you are in for some non-stop gore, exploding heads, throat slashing, decapitations, then this film is just for you. Better than Clash of the Titans.
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
Recapturing The Excitement
The Adventures of Tintin is a movie made by the most brilliant filmmakers of Hollywood and there is no doubt that this movie will be good. They got Steven Spielberg directing, Peter Jackson producing, Edgar Wright co-writing, and some great actors. The execution, it's a load of big fun. Steven Spielberg recreates his classic trademark action sequence. The performances were excellent. The animation is uncanny valley but it's done well though. The film may have its dragging moments but throughout it's undeniably enjoyable.
Let's begin with the performances. Jamie Bell really brings Tintin to life. Andy Serkis is always great at motion capture and he actually steals the show as Haddock. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are always a good pair. Even without their faces, they are still fun to watch. Daniel Craig gives a brilliantly fascinating performance. The motion capture helped their fancy movements. Even though it looks weird.
The film has Spielberg. After all of his alien movies, he returned to action adventures. He keeps it big and exciting. Every action scenes are ridiculously thrilling. The mystery works enough telling it. The weakest parts might be the over introduction of the characters. The opening credits already shows who Tintin is. The beginning of the story just stretched it a bit more longer. Haddock's introduction is also stretched. Maybe to make things clear but it's a little bit dragging. The rest of the film enjoyable.
The animation, like I say, is weird for the characters but it makes it easy for its action sequences. Visuals are incredibly spectacular and it obviously makes the whole adventure exciting. The score is fancy. When it comes to the action scenes, it gets adventurous. And the homage of the original Tintin is scattered. The cinematography fits to its animation. The camera is shaky in a different manner.
Fans of Spielberg and Hergé's Tintin comics will definitely love this movie for recapturing their classic homage. While the other moviegoers might find it fascinating. Yes, the movie's excitingly thrilling and undeniably enjoyable. Since this is just the beginning of a series, It's a perfect reintroduction of an iconic character. Although, it lingers too much. I hope it gets more bigger in the sequels. Again, it's big, exciting, hilarious and really enjoyable.
Happy Feet Two (2011)
Happy Feet is definitely one of those films that doesn't need a sequel but it has a purpose to give us an environmental message and that message became the main plot of this film. But for some reason, it's unnecessary. Extraneous characters like the Krills. There's nothing much to do with this. Just a lot of unnecessary things scattered throughout. The visuals are largely stunning and still has its powerful tone but even with those things, it still falls short.
The first Happy Feet movie sets with a powerful tone and an absurd but interesting premise. That was acceptable as a penguin movie. Happy Feet 2 has its similarity with the first one by the father-son relationship. The rest is all about the crisis of the climate change but unnecessary things are happening especially with the two Krills, Will and Bill. They appear like Scrat from the Ice Age series. They are funny though but again, unnecessary.
The film itself is also unnecessary. The problem of Mumble's tap dancing was already solved. They lived happily ever after in Antarctica since the "aliens" moderated their fishing. The climate change is a really good idea. But after the movie, it feels like it's just another sequel. Well, the movie never fails to its cast. Elijah Wood and Robin Williams did the same thing in the first movie but still good in this sequel. The newbies, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon are both fun even though they are playing the most extraneous characters of the film. Pink and Common are good replacements. What happened to Fat Joe? And the last but never the least is Hank Azaria who nearly steals the show.
The movie gives some nostalgia and powerful tone from the first movie but it doesn't help at all but the visuals are really stunningly beautiful. Keeps the film large and worth it to the cinema and 3D. Realistic textures to make it look like it's Animal Planet but the elephant seals looks cartoony in some part but it's still good to look at. The songs are decent.
There are only two reasons why this exists. Environmental Propaganda and money. It's the 21st Century of Hollywood and they are somewhat running out of ideas. With all of their technology and talented filmmakers, they can make as many unnecessary sequels as they want. The Environmental Message is stuck in the plot but there is nothing wrong with that. Happy Feet 2 is not a bad movie. It's just unnecessary.
Bland To Shallowness
I never liked Twilight films but I still have faith to their upcoming movies. Unfortunately this is the second to the last Twilight movie. Breaking Dawn Part 1 still has the same problems. Blandness and dullness. Breaking Dawn has its darkness to its plot but it was executed differently. It has its intensity but mostly it's like a joke. The film is also too long. It feel longer than any two hour blockbuster we get this year. But at least this movie gave die hard Edward Cullen fans a lesson. Vampire Sex Is Deadly.
The story is all about the danger of Bella's pregnancy. But the whole plot happens in the near end of the film. The whole first act feels tedious. The movie spends most of the time to Bella and Edward's honeymoon and their never ending sex. This film could've been intriguing. But it saves too much to the last part of the story. The acting also remains the same with their dull and bland personalities. The fun only occurs in the very short scene of Michael Sheen in the mid credits.
The filmmaking isn't really the problem of this series. The cinematography is indeed decent. The score always fits to this series. The production design and the special effects are obviously well made. However the directors are trying to fit their style to the story. The directing here is probably decent but the grim dark moments ends up looking shallow and some of it is ludicrous.
This is just the first half of the story. The next film will reveal all the questions asked in this film but this wasted 117 minutes for asking those questions. Then again, it's just another Twilight film with tedious long runtime, dullness and blandness, and any other nonsense. This film had potential by its intriguing plot but we've been cheated by splitting the story in half. I don't think it's necessary to split this book in half. Only Twilight fans will appreciate this.
Killer Elite (2011)
The trailer was a false advertisement. It shows how crazy action packed fun this film will be. Even with the "Based On A True Story" tagline on it. Sadly, the trailer is quite different to the film. Both the film and the trailer were good but it's strangely different. The film is a thriller with an ordinary type of action film but it's not a crazy action fun film that the trailer advertised. It's really disappointing but the film stays a bit faithful to the story that it's based on. Although, it's quite absurd as a true story. Jason Statham is always awesome to watch. Clive Owen does that too with his mustache. Killer Elite is entertaining but it feels like it's just another afternoon boredom cure.
It does not stand as a crazy filled action flick but it's still entertaining. It's never tiring to watch Statham, Owen, and De Niro even if they're playing their same old roles all over again. It's sad that we don't see anything new about them except Clive Owen looks fascinating with his mustache. The film has action but not quite often. Most of it is spying and chasing each other. The fights are ridiculously fun.
It's all about the thrills. The suspense is well executed. In the end, we don't get to see anything new or crazy exciting fun about it. The storytelling was good enough. The script is a bit mediocre. The direction is just as basic as any other action films. You may notice the film's runtime is 1 hour and 50 minutes but it feels kinda longer. Probably because of the quick pacing and the perpetual climax. It's a true story but most of the picture is too unrealistic. But it's easy to ignore that problem.
It's an interesting story but it could've been more fun. But again the film is entertaining enough to cure your afternoon boredom. Jason Statham and Clive Owen will always entertain you no matter what. If you are in for some action violence then you might enjoy this. It's still disappointing. Someday, Killer Elite will remain just another Jason Statham film. His films are interesting actually but they end up being mediocre by its script and sometimes the filmmaking. He's the only one who's saving it. Then again, he will cure your boredom and nothing else.
Puss in Boots (2011)
Boots Too Tight
Puss in Boots is one of my favorite characters in the Shrek series. Giving him a stand alone film is an interesting idea. It's suppose to be cool and exciting. It get what it wants. The movie is fun and often hilarious. The cat jokes are clever. Bunch of impressive scenes. The 3D is great. The scale is large. But the plot is too small for its large scale. It gets lazy in the second half and a bit predictable in the end. Though the film is pretty enjoyable but it could have been a lot better.
Puss In Boots starts in a solid blockbuster way. And one part of the beginning, the dancing, is very impressive. It's more than funny. That scene excites me which gives me a feeling that this film will be very great. I don't know why but it's just my feeling. The first half is exciting and great to introduce the cat hero. But when it comes to the second half(after the flashback), it's large but the story has a very little plot. It's a big adventure but ends up a little bit unsatisfying.
The story is like what Dreamworks Animated films usually do. Flashbacks of these critters when they were babies. They grew up being themselves. The rest of the story of Puss In Boots is Jack in the Beanstalk with Puss in Boots and Humpty Dumpty. It's not faithful to the original story. It's just another fairytale collaboration but this one has Mexican culture. The problem is the laziness of the storytelling. They mixed all the fairytale stories and threw some heart. These things are collaborated and nothing else. It's close to Direct-to-Video type of storytelling since this film was originally planned to be that.
But the film is never meant to be in the small screen since the scale is large. The movie is in 3D, as usual. The 3D is great. Just like Megamind, the camera is flying again. Swashbuckling cats and a lot giant stuff. The humor is clever. The natural instincts of cats are used as a joke. Like drinking milk, chasing a light, and some meows. It's adorable. The "Ooooh" cat is the "Do the roar" kid of this film. Here's the thing, cats are adorable and their instincts are funny.
In the end, it's just like Monsters Vs. Aliens and Shark Tale. But this has its heart but it's not well executed. It's still enjoyable to watch in the big screen and 3D. The filmmaking is good enough and everything is large. It just needs to make the story better. The film has ambitions for a sequel. Well I got to admit, it really needs a sequel because this adventure is not quite satisfying. More adventures to this kitty cat could be fun. Again, this film is fun but it won't blow your mind or touch your heart too much.
Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
Delivering The Scares
To be honest, I never liked Paranormal Activity movies. It's about people who lived in a house with cameras and there are evil spirits haunting them then all of the events are caught on tape. The idea is interesting but the execution always end up being unsatisfying. Paranormal Activity 3 is the very beginning of the series. It's not actually a prequel. It's more of a backward trilogy to make the ending of the rest of the Paranormal Activity films mysterious. Although, the twist is a little bit predictable but Paranormal Activity 3 has a decent story to tell with these found footage. And it really has the scares. Finally, this series has a genuine scare.
Paranormal Activity 3 reveals all the mysteries of the first two movies. Unlike the first two, instead of watching the lives of these people and wait for the spirits to come out, this one really tells a story through the videos. The story is not anything new though but the execution is decent. The second Paranormal Activity narrates almost everything in the story. Here you don't need it, you just have to look at the video footage to know the story.
Aside from its storytelling, Paranormal Activity is all about the scares. They improved the scares by moderating the slow burns and keep the objects floating. The ghosts aren't quite invisible like the first two. Here, it's campy. You can see its shadows. And of course, there's a lot of threat from the ghost. The scares are more than just jump scares. It has more terror and gumption to the thrills which is kinda fun. The cameras are well shot. Everything is well made. But the twist remains predictable for some reason.
Paranormal Activity 3 is not earning the fear anymore. It's now earning the scares. It's great to see Paranormal Activity with exact scares than wait for more than five minutes to be scared. It's not the scariest horror movie of the year but it's the best part of the series and also the most decent horror of the year. I still wanna see the parts on the trailer that wasn't show in the actual film but Paranormal Activity 3 is satisfying enough in its short runtime. Decent enough as a found-footage-horror-film.
The Three Musketeers (2011)
All For Fun
At first glance, we all know that this will never be a great version of The Three Musketeers but with all the flying ships and the swashbucklery, we can still give it a try. The film ends up pretty fun. Even with all the silly nonsense and the modern stuff scattered in the film. The cast made it enjoyable. The 3D is surprisingly good. But in the end, it's just another blockbuster. The film also had troubles to its pacing and the writing is a bit modern. The Three Musketeers won't end up as a classic but it can be fun in some times.
The baffle goes to the director. Paul W.S. Anderson is an unusual person to direct a film like this since he's more of a futuristic action movie guy. Adding some steampunk and plenty of slow-mos. The film didn't end up being too faithful to the original story. The director just wants to feel comfortable to his style. Modernism, Cool Devices, Hot Women, and Slow-Mo. The pacing is problematic in the second act. It shows the plan of the villains and in parts, you won't notice that it already passes another day.
The other thing about the second act, the Musketeers are mostly absent. It shows more of the antagonists and their plans. It's like Transformers where the titular characters only appear when there's danger and mostly focuses to a kid and the villains. But here, the titular characters are not bland.
Some of the cast made their scenes enjoyable. Logan Lerman does his thing. Not quite appreciating though. But his female fans will love it. The actors who played the three musketeers gives plenty of personality to their roles. Matthew Macfadyen is pretty cool as Athos. We don't get to see much Luke Evans but he is cunning as Aramis. Ray Stevenson is as usual, funny and had much character. In the antagonists, Christophe Waltz has many style of being a villain. Orlando Bloom looks like he's enjoying but a little threat in his little scenes. Mads Mikkelsen is the only serious villain among them. Milla Jovovich does her swagger and seductiveness but a little personality.
The action is pretty cool. But so much slow-mos. Just like in Resident Evil Afterlife. Slow-motion to make it cool. Anderson started these excessive slow-mos in Resident Evil 4. Maybe he thought these things will affect the 3D or maybe he just wanted to be cool. It's cool enough but when the musketeers was helping D'Artagnan to fight Rochefort's army, there is one moment of this scene that looks too similar to 300. When Athos was slashing them but here there are no blood. No matter how violent they kill, you won't see a single drop. The 3D is surprisingly good. It's almost like a gimmick but this gimmick is actually good. Swords, Bombs, Pointy Objects, and other stuff.
The production design is decent. The costumes and the setting are well made. The CGI were obviously good. The flying battleships and some CGI swords. CGI bombs. CGI background. The music score fits the whole theme but every single score repeats in every scene. The writing isn't good. Too modern. They said the S word but it's funny anyways.
Fans of the original story will definitely be disappointed with this adaptation but if you are in for some steampunk, slow-mos, swashbuckling swordfights then try watch this. It will not remain a classic or one of the best. It's not really trying to be the best. It's just a version with futuristic elements or it could be just a 3D gimmick. The movie wasn't bad as I expected but it has those flaws that aren't easy to ignore. It just wanted to be fun. It's good to watch as an action film. As an adaptation, it's good to watch right now but someday it'll be forgotten or ignored. But really, this is fun.
Real Steel (2011)
The Heart Of Steel
Based on what everybody said, Real Steal is like Over The Top plus Rocky with Robots. Over The Top because there's a man, his son, and a truck. Rocky because it's obvious. Put these films together and add robots and minus Stallone. Real Steel is not very innovating though but it's excitingly great and has plenty of heart. It's also the return of Hugh Jackman although we just saw him a little last June. There are lot of things to recommend in Real Steel.
The premise isn't really that intriguing. It's boxing replaced by robots. Films with Giant CGI Robots are not innovating since we have Michael Bay's Transformers. But the heart and soul lies to the relationship of Charlie and Max and their robot, Atom. It's fun to watch them. The fighting scenes are pretty exciting. That is what most underdog fighting movies do. The only problem here is the weak major antagonist. It's not really that threatening or a big deal. Ricky was more threatening than the gigantic Zeus.
The filmmaking is pretty decent. Well shot scenes. The CGI robots and the music score are good enough. Nothing to say about the production design except Charlie's truck. It looks fascinating for some reason. The performances were great. We don't see Hugh Jackman in action movies after two years and there's a small cameo of him, flipping off two characters(it's obvious but I won't tell you the title). Here in Real Steel, Jackman is energetic and somewhat perfect for the role. Dakota Goyo is a bit charming. Chemistry of him and Jackman shines through the film. It's fun to watch them together.
There aren't much new here in Real Steel but in the end, it's enjoyable and has plenty of heart. The climax isn't so much overwhelming but it intends to be more heartfelt. Again, it's like Over The Top which the father is trying to make his son proud and Rocky because it's boxing and add some robots in it. Even without thinking much about the robots, there is always human heart in this film. Hugh Jackman does it again. The underdog fighting movie genre does it again. It's really a fun film for the whole family.
The Change-Up (2011)
Body-switching movies are obviously not intriguing anymore. The Change-Up tries to be unique by putting adult humor. Unfortunately, most of its humor are not as mature as its contents. We often see poop, pee, and some boobs. Too much toilet humor made this film end up being childish. But there are some humor can be funny for some reason and well delivered by the cast. Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds saves the film but not mostly. The Change-Up is completely terrible without them but the film is still not good though.
First of all, it wants to be a mature version of Freaky Friday. It throws a lot of profanity and boobs throughout. The huge misstep is adding too much toilet humor. Peeing at the fountain, Poop on the face, and Testicle jokes occasionally. Maybe a dirty minded kid might enjoy this. And too many slapstick humor. A baby hitting himself on a crib. But the only witty and hilarious humor here is the "Dinner Song". Most of its humor is dirty but the film is surprisingly wants to give a lot of heart to its story. Which is truly strange.
Despite from its vulgarity and toilet humor, the movie can be fun by the performances of Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds. They are not the kind of people that you expect to switch bodies but they did their jobs well. Especially Bateman. He can play both hardworking father and a jerk slacker.
Here's the tip of watching The Change-Up, watch it for the stars. The film is still pretty stupid and gross but at least it's not as bad as the last excessive vulgarity comedy "Your Highness". The Change-Up is dirty and childish. I guess the filmmakers are getting lazy. It's Freaky Friday with Crappy Humor (Literally).
Horrible Bosses (2011)
Horrible Bosses is too crazy for a dark comedy. We all know killing your boss is a cruel idea but in this film they're making it a joke. Despite from its cruelness, Horrible Bosses isn't horrible at all. It's undeniably hilarious. Too much fun by the performance of the cast. Horrible Bosses doesn't have a lot of gumption to its dark premise but it's all about the comedy. This is just a little comedy that you will enjoy all the time.
The beginning of the film shows how horrible their bosses are. It's pretty reasonable why they wanted to kill them. But what's fascinating here is how the main three had a perfect chemistry to their horrible bosses. Especially when it comes to Charlie Day and Jennifer Aniston. Charlie Day made his role too innocent to get sexualized by Jennifer Aniston. He's like a child being harassed by a pedophile. Jason Bateman plays a hardworking man and Kevin Spacey is teasing him like a bully. Kevin Spacey is perfect for this role. Jason Sudeikis and Colin Farrel does their thing.
The entire film is all about the laughs and the fun. Nothing else to say about the filmmaking. The movie is just funny. It doesn't have a knack to get serious in some parts. Its darkness is always hilarious. By the way this is a comedy. It's supposed to fun all the time. Yes, like even murder is funny.
Horrible Bosses is not the kind of film that tries to be the best. It's just a little fun comedy. It's a movie that you'll still enjoy even if you've seen it many times. It's funny enough. It's clever enough. Most of the fun goes to the performances. At least Horrible Bosses is one of those better comedies that we are getting recently. It's just fun.
The Bromance Fight
My first glance, I thought it's gonna be like The Fighter since this film is about fighting sports and there's a brother relationship. But here, the brothers are against to each other. The film doesn't really spend so much time dealing with their relationship. It mostly goes to the father of the main leads. The film is unnecessarily long but the third act has plenty of exciting MMA fights. If you're expecting this to be like The Fighter then you'll be disappointed. But Warrior has its own drama piece.
What's intriguing about this film is the idea of making these brothers fight on a match. Most of the film is an exposition to their lives. Telling what happened to them from the past and bringing a lot of emotions. There are only few scenes of Tommy and Brendan being together but all we know they're against to each other. It's a family struggle.
When it comes to the third act, it's all about the fighting. The fighting is pretty exciting. It's also too suspenseful because the first 90 minutes of the film is getting to know these characters. Fans of MMA and UFC will enjoy the whole third act. No matter what, Tom Hardy is always awesome. The film has plenty of heart and emotions. Most of these goes to Nick Nolte. He made all of his scenes compelling. I think Joel Edgerton is bland but his fighting is pretty good.
I'm a bit disappointed after watching this because I thought it's gonna be like The Fighter but still this is pretty good. More darker but not quite better though. The action is better. If there is one thing that is similar to The Fighter then that probably be the filmmaking. The camera's shaky, a little music score, but a whole lot of style. Well, this is not True Story but the drama works mostly to the scenes of Nick Nolte. Since he nails most of the drama, Hardy and Edgerton nails the action. Warrior has a lot of emotions and a bit of bromance.
Fright Night (2011)
Return Of The Vampires
The original Fright Night was already a cult classic which makes this remake unnecessary. But since all vampires these days are less scary and like what Evil Ed said "Love Sick", it can be necessary for some reason. Bringing back the true vampire camp. Although it's not as scary as the original but Colin Farrel's performance improves the vampire villain. This Fright Night is endlessly watchable and fun. This may sound strange but I think this version is better than the original.
The original have the disturbing schlocky masks but this version actually has the vampire danger and thrills. The credit goes to Colin Farrel. He gives a lot of vigor and terror to the evil vampire. David Tennant has his own Peter Vincent. His charisma and delight shines through all of his scenes. Just like Roddy McDowall, David Tennant nearly steals the show. But Farrel really owns this show.
It's a welcome back, actually. It's not a cash in remake. It's the returning of the vampire horror to our cinemas. Our vampire movies these days are just tired and relies to nothing but the senseless violence. And some of them are in love with a bland girl and sparkle in sunlight. But the biggest thing that is missing in most modern vampire movies is how scary these monsters are. They are not only bloodsuckers. They can be terrifying for somehow.
The filmmaking is obviously good but some of the CGI tones the scares down a little bit but it works though. The score sounds nothing like the score of the original but it's true to its vampire genre. The movie is shot in 3D but most of the film is dark and 3D usually dims the aspect of a film but if you are in for some blood and sparks coming out of the screen then try it. Not quite recommending though.
Overall, Fright Night is enjoyable. Maybe the biggest mistake they made is the jump scares since Fright Night isn't really fond to that trend. Well, this is definitely better than all the unnecessary horror remakes we usually get every year. Colin Farrel made a lot of things better. Vampires are evil again. It has plenty of joys and thrills. Fright Night is recommendable by bringing back the true elements of the genre.
Final Destination 5 (2011)
Same Crazy Deaths
I really loved the opening credits of this film. It introduces the killers of the series. Random objects are the true killers of the these movies. They jump out of the screen and shows us how dangerous they are. Even the most innocent objects can be dangerous. The mysteriousness of the intro is obvious and it became intense when a dead corpse flies out of the screen then random blood splatters the broken glass. The film itself is a remake of the last four films. They added some new rules here but it doesn't change anything. At least this is better than the fourth one but in the end, this is just another sequel(or remake).
Here's the thing about Final Destination. It's an intriguing high concept horror movie. But after the second film, they decided to repeat all the things from the first movie and make the deaths more gory than ever. They added new things here like the "Kill or Be Killed" concept. It's pretty interesting but it doesn't make any changes. That concept just made the climax more psychological and create some twists. Like I say, this is just another Final Destination sequel.
If you're a fan of the film then you might enjoy it by its silly death scenes. Yep, the 3D use is gimmicky. Dangerous stuff, even the ones that aren't dangerous jumps out of the screen. Blood and gore throughout. See how fragile these people are. Here's the big problem, The film points at Molly as the important character of the film but she is really/very bland among all of them.
Final Destination 5 is just another Final Destination movie. Told some new rules but still no changes. The twist in the end reveals something intriguing but after that, it became pointless. This series means nothing but to show how dumb gory violence can happen by random accidents and little objects. The movie itself will make you unsatisfied but if you are seeing this for the stupid gory violence then this repetitive sequel is your satisfactory. Kind of.
Cars 2 (2011)
The saddest thing about Pixar today is, they don't know what movie they are going to release on their 25th Anniversary since one of their upcoming projects "Newt" was cancelled despite from Blue Sky's Rio plot. Cars 2 feels like it's a direct-to-DVD film. It's not really bad but it's just unnecessary. Though, the action is pretty cool. The kids will enjoy it but the rest is like Rango. Instead of Western Themes, it's Spy movies. The story isn't bad except it doesn't give anything emotional and heartwarming unlike the other Pixar movies. Cars 2 is pretty fun but the most important ingredient of their movies is missing.
Firstly, the lead of the film is Mater. The theme of the film is Espionage but it's just some sort of an animated version of a particular spy movie. Everything moves here. There are too many action that any kid can enjoy but the story is probably too interesting for grown ups. If the movie gets focused to the plot, the kids might get bored. The missing Pixar element here is the heartwarming moments. The movie still has a heart but it fails to be compelling. Don't worry about the humor, that is one thing they will never fail. Some of the writing seems rushed.
The voices do what they do best. John Lasseter knows what to do in this movie. The animation is obviously pretty good. The score is a bit generic that you may hear in any movie or television show. The action keeps everything moving. Watching the car fighting scenes is like watching a kid playing his little toy cars and let them do something fun. Which is pretty impressive.
In Pixar, the craftsmanship or the animation doesn't quite matter. It's all about the compelling story and the emotional heartwarming moments. It's hard to say Cars 2 is bad film. Pixar still knows how to make a good movie but without their important elements, it's like you're watching a movie from a different studio. Once again, it's pretty fun but if you expect a lot of Pixar magic then you might get disappointed.
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
Title Says It All
It's easy to figure out what Cowboys & Aliens is going to be. I'm not familiar with the comic book that it's based on but the film is definitely what the title has promised us. There are cowboys, then there are aliens. If you are fond to Western movies then you'll be entertained but if you are expecting too much aliens then you might get disappointed. You won't be seeing anything mind blowing in this film. If you want to see Sci-Fi action plus Western Violence then this film is just for you.
Cowboys & Aliens is nothing but to entertain you. The only thing that is unique here is the Western & Sci-Fi collaboration. The film is just your typical Western movie but instead of Indians or some sadistic bandit, the aliens are the antagonist of the film. The aliens are pretty intriguing but we don't see them that much until the third act. It's disappointing if you are expecting too much aliens. The only things we see them do are ride their ships, stab people, shoot with their weapons, & jump scare the audiences. It's also your typical alien invasion film.
At least the action is full of explosions. Jon Favreau sure knows how to make the action scenes exciting no matter how flawed they are. The performances saved most of the film. Daniel Craig's character is actually bland in the script so does Olivia Wilde's, but Craig's performance gives a little more character to the role. I don't know what to say about Olivia Wilde's, she is just hot. Harrison Ford & Sam Rockwell do what they do best. Paul Dano can be both fun to watch and annoying at the same time.
It's easy to recognize that the CGI effects were made by Industrial Light & Magic, since the CGI aliens looks just like any monster from J.J. Abram's films. No doubt, it's good. The score is true to its western themes. The production design is pretty decent enough for a western film.
In the end, Cowboys & Aliens is just another blockbuster released to our cinemas. I don't know if this film is going to be remembered years from now but I think the only purpose of this film is to show its gritty western violence and some sci-fi action. If you're expecting more than the title then you will be disappointed. If you are expecting more aliens than the cowboys then you'll be disappointed. Cowboys are the focus and the aliens end up being the jump scare of the movie. It's not bad nor good though. If you are careless about the story and the character development, & you're just seeking for some sheer action and huge explosions then I can recommended this. But not quite.
Evolution without Revolution
Hollywood is losing ideas. We already know that. Now we are stuck having remakes, reboots, & prequels. And what's worse, most of these prequels are hardly connected to the original film & sometimes they say it's a reboot. The film? It can be entertaining in some parts, but mostly it's a wooden & clichéd sci-fi story. Convoluted from the original Planet of the Apes series but like they say, This could be a reboot. Any new ideas, Hollywood?
The movie is totally disconnected from the original Planet of the Apes movies. It's obvious that they wanted to make another reboot of the series. They're losing ideas & wanted to improve some of the old classics. Rise of the Planet of the Apes doesn't want to show the true origin of the first series. I don't think Fox is still capable of making accurate prequels. It's just like X-Men First Class although X-Men is an enjoyable movie and it's necessary to tell its story.
The story here can be interesting but it ends up being generic & predictable. Science goes wrong, Humans are evil, Too much sappiness, & ends with a predictable and somewhat exhausting action climax. Since none of the apes are real, The CGI looks impressive though. The main ape's actor, Andy Serkis, only spoken few lines in this movie but the motion he provides to the character is remarkably amazing. He's an expert to these motion capture characters. James Franco ends up being a wooden character. What's the point of Freida Pinto's character? Tom Felton is playing Draco Malfoy again & this time he's teasing Apes. At least John Lithgow gave some emotional moments.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is an altered, predictable, & unnecessary prequel. The filmmaking has already been evolved but still no revolution. The studio is out of ideas & we are getting these unnecessary prequels that suddenly appearing as a reboot. Even the film itself is not good. I noticed that most people liked it maybe because the CGI is quite amazing and the motion capture performance of Andy Serkis nails most of the film. But really, this is unnecessary & ridiculous. The ending also has an ambition for a sequel. I guess these prequels are deceiving reboots.
Captain America: The First Avenger is a pretty decent film by its own merits. Showing the good old retro style and production design, since this film is directed by Joe Johnson who is capable of portraying the old times perfectly. Chris Evans did a great job as Captain America. Some of the action scenes are disappointingly unexciting but at least the CGI effects are eye candy. The movie ends with true patriotic heroism and full of heart. Definitely not new but it's still enjoyable.
The trope of Captain America: The First Avenger has been reused by so many superhero movies. A good guy who is a weakling became powerful then eventually saves the day. It's definitely not innovating even for the people who've never read the comics but it's a relic. Well made production design & the old fashion score. Most battle scenes are montages. The action scenes are large. It can be watchable but some of them are pretty bland and poorly directed.
The joys and the thrills mostly goes to the performances. Nothing goes wrong with Chris Evans. He did a decent job as Steve Rogers/Captain America. Hugo Weaving is fun to watch by his campiness and menace for the Red Skull. Tommy Lee Jones is the comic relief here. The special effects are everywhere. Skinny Chris Evans and the background of the 1940s. Well, they are good enough for this film.
Plenty of things worked in the end. Captain America: The First Avenger is a relic in its old fashion style but a little messy when it comes to the editing of the action scenes, but it's still enjoyable. Patriotic heroism, full of heart, Chris Evans, and decent production design. Marvel Studios and Joe Johnston really beats the awful 1990s version. The action could have been better but their flaws can be ignored. It's fun enough as a superhero movie.
Raunchy Chick Flick
Most chick flick comedies are usually unwanted by many people because of their childish and mostly caricatured humor and their escapist love stories. But when Apatow and Paul Feig tries to save this genre, it's still has its chick flickness but it has a realistic and full of heart storyline. The film has its raunchiness. It's hilarious throughout. Bridesmaids must be the best comedy movie of the year so far, and one of the funniest chick flick comedies ever.
First goes to the actors. Kristen Wiig's is a brilliant comedian. Her craziness and charisma really made the show aside from the humor. Maya Rudolph gives a lot of heart to her role. Melissa McCarthy has the best parts and she nearly steals the show. The rest of the cast did a great job to this film.
Bridesmaids is not as generic as the other female comedies existing. The story isn't really that original but it portrays in a realistic way. Not quite realistic but it's not an escapist love story where the main girl is perfect human being but a loser. Aside from the love story plot, the parts when she is being jealous to her best friend's new friend. There's mixed emotions and comedy to those scenes. Paul Feig knows how to put humor plus heart perfectly in a comedy film.
The humor is written by clever writers even the star of this film. What we expect to this film, it's hilarious throughout. The raunchy humor and some toilet humor mixed with heartfelt emotions and awkwardness. It's (obviously) one of the merits of this film.
Most people say this film is like The Hangover but with female cast. The Hangover is more clever but this one is more hilarious and more heart than you expect. The performances plus the hilarious humor, this film is easily one of the funniest female comedies ever although it's unnecessarily long but it's undeniably enjoyable(even if you're a guy).
Endings are usually the problems of most movie series. They usually end up being mediocre & unsatisfying or they are made to cash in people. The great thing about Harry Potter movies, the filmmakers are taking their job seriously. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a great ending of the series. It's more than throwing a lot of action and exposition. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is one of those conclusion that actually care about the series.
Deathly Hallows part 1 is just the first and the half of the second act of the story. Deathly Hallows part 2 begins straight forward to its continuation of the last Harry Potter film. And of course, if you haven't seen Deathly Hallows Part 1 or any of the Harry Potter movies, you'll be confused to death. Obvious isn't it? It's pretty clever to make the whole Deathly Hallows story like a slow burn. It started from silent thrills, plans, and escapes to big and loud battles.
The series doesn't only end with big and loud action. It also gives us some nostalgia from the old Harry Potter films. And we still get to see more of the characters. The movie itself is pretty exciting. It's a good choice to let David Yates direct the rest of the Potter films because he made this series darker and bolder. Aside from that the film still has its compelling moments like the Prince's Tale scene.
No need to tell about the performances of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and the rest of the cast because they are obviously good to their characters but there is one actor here is worth mention and that is Alan Rickman. We already knew him as Snape but there is one scene where we see more of his character and his performance was excellent. The filmmaking, the special effects is obviously good. The music score really made the battle scenes epic and perfect for a final film.
For me it's really hard to write a review about Harry Potter. Is it because I never read the books or I'm not really a huge fan but in my opinion Harry Potter is a successful series. If I rank all the movie conclusions, this could be number three because nothing beats Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. Either you're a fan or not, you'll love this series. And yes, this is another remarkable movie series.
Scream 4 (2011)
Last year, Wes Craven returns to direct slasher flicks but his last movie(My Soul To Take) ends up pretty bad and I thought he is losing it. But the good thing is, Scream 4 is fun. Everything is back. Yes, the movie is so back there's nothing much new about this sequel. The killing scenes are repeated from the first film. The main characters still had the same old problems. It's just repetitive and it's slightly disappointing. At least it's still fun but again, there's nothing new.
Sydney Prescott is back and she is being stalked by the Ghostface killer again. But that's not all, Officer Dewey is still having trouble to look for the identity of the killer. Gale Weathers is still hated by the public. The guys are talking about the rules. Some tricky twist in the end. Aside from that, they also repeat the killing scenes from the first Scream movies since The Ghostface Killer's plan here is redoing his same stuff from the first Scream.
There is nothing about this sequel except the new atmosphere. It's new decade but it still wanted to be postmodern. The movie is still fun. The cast actually made this film. Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courtney Cox does their thing. The new characters are also good to watch. The only problem here is the revealed Ghostface. I won't tell you who the killer is but in recent Scream movies they are usually twisted and full of rage but the revealed Ghostface here is kinda low key.
Overall, it's fun to watch because of the characters and it's more violent but the version I saw here in the Philippines has cuts which kinda ruined the film. But again and again, it's not new, not big either, it's just another Scream movie. Wes Craven haven't lost it yet but this deserves a less repetitive story.
Witwicky The Movie!
Witwicky The Movie! Once again, Transformers is not focused to the Transformers but focused to a human being named Sam Witwicky. This is why I never liked Michael Bay's Transformers. This is why I already predicted "Revenge of the Fallen" will fail two years ago because the movie is not interested with Optimus. How can this series be called Transformers if it doesn't have enough Transformers? The Autobots only appear when there are Decepticons attacking and the preachy scenes about them. If there's no action, there's the life of Witwicky. His life is never interesting but the film just wants us to show how important it is. How about less Witwicky and more Optimus? Would it make the film better? I guess so.
Transformers movies never gets a good story. But we still watch these movies for the Autobots and the explosion and the loud noises. Fact: The scenes of the Autobots only exist in the action scenes and the important scenes about them. The rest is all Witwicky and his chick and his uninteresting & unimportant life. There are new Transformers in this film but we never get to know them because it doesn't only have new Transformers, it also have excessive cameos. These celebrity cameos has more screen time than the robot newbies.
The special effects were the only merits of this trilogy. All the transforming, all the robots, all the explosions, all the stuff jumping off the screen. Another Fact: The 3D is "DARKER of the Moon". We sure love the action and the explosion but the climax is focused to Sam Witwicky's survival again, and the soldiers and Witwicky again and his new girlfriend and Witwicky then Patrick Dempsey(not spoilers dude) and Witwicky. It's all Witwicky! Yeah, there's Optimus and Bumblebee but mostly focused to Witwicky and the humans.
Saddest thing is, the scenes of Bumblebee were also moderated. He is the only Autobot in the series we know the most and loved but here he is now like Optimus and the rest of the Transformers. Why can't they just call these films "Sam and the Transformers" or "World Invasion: Chicago and Egypt and LA and other places where the Transformies went"? Sounds more credible than "Transformers". I'm not really trolling Shia LaBeouf but him as Witwicky is like playing the same roles all over again. I bet he love Michael Bay for giving him these hot chicks. Rosie Huntington-Whitely was only cast for her sexy body and giving Sam a backup. She doesn't improve Megan Fox's Mikaela Beans.
Transformers is supposed to be about the Transformers. But it has more humans, and Witwicky, and Cameos and Witwicky. I think Michael Bay is getting lazy. He's not taking this movie so seriously and the movie ends too quickly and he throws a lot of humanity and celebrity cameos in his excessive runtime. By the way this movie is called "Transformers" not "Human Celebrities". Well, Bay made a grave mistake.
Green Lantern (2011)
The Green Cheese
We are getting decent and compelling superhero movies these days, which is a great thing that happened to the genre. Now "Green Lantern" is one of those films that also needs to be powerful, but it ends up being a generic cheesy cinema. "Green Lantern" is not perfectly horrible or the worst superhero movie ever but it's just too much exposition and a whole lot of green cheese.
"Green Lantern" has a great concept. Just like the other superhero films, the storytelling also needs to be compelling. Unfortunately, the film gets lazy to tell the story so they just threw a lot of narration and even the ones that are not quite necessary to narrate. The action is not very amazing. it's just showing us how eye-candy the effects are.
At least the movie is loyal to its corniness. Hal Jordan's wacky imagination and the aliens' zany looking faces. The CGI is pretty. The performances were entertaining enough. Ryan Reynolds is doing his same old thing. Mark Strong didn't appear so much (which is disappointing) but still he's awesome.
It's disappointing because they're making the interesting villains into uninteresting. Example, Parallax should be terrifying and menacing. Instead he's a scrambled egg who eats fear. Not really terrifying nor menacing. Peter Sarsgaard's mad scientist performance was pretty good but the only thing he did in this film is crying in agony and use his telekinesis powers in a lame way.
"Green Lantern" just wanted to show its beautiful visuals. It's not a very bad thing but the filmmakers doesn't take its storytelling so seriously. It can be entertaining for some reason but it can also be forgettable. It's good to see it in the big screen for the visuals but you don't want to see it again after that. This might be the weakest superhero movie of the year. Even "The Green Hornet" is better than this. "Thor" might be the best superhero film of 2011 so far in my opinion because even though the action isn't great, at least there is a compelling storytelling. The sad thing is, both the action and the storytelling are not compelling in "Green Lantern".
3D? Very dark!
Super 8 (2011)
Mixing Their Trademarks
The concept of "Super 8" is combining the elements of J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg. The trailer made you think it's like E.T. plus Cloverfield. Well, it's true. There is nothing new about "Super 8" but it brought us back to the good old classic times, it's funny, it's exciting, and it's amazing.
"Super 8" is another intriguing monster movie by J.J. Abrams. Yes, you really wanna know what it looks like but I'm not gonna tell you. The sad thing is it's not as intriguing as Cloverfield. But It's easy to ignore that problem because there is something better than being another Cloverfield. It feels like you are watching a good old classic movie. Great characters, Good old fashion score, and kids intrigued by the situation.
The story is really about the characters' zombie movie making and the family tragedy while there's a monster attacking their town. The monster is like the background or the subplot of this film. But the movie still got suspense. The movie is indeed beautiful and plenty of heart. The movie is just nostalgic stuff. It's not trying to be new. It just wants to show how J.J. Abrams is inspired by Steven Spielberg's movies.
There are some amazing scenes in this film. Example, the train collision was breathtaking. The movie sure has a lot of humor. It's like a relic to the old family movies. The CGI is good enough. The performances were good. The kids gave a lot of personality to their roles.
"Super 8" is a J.J. Abrams film with Spielberg's trademarks all over it. It's not a blockbuster that has a lot of action and less talking. This movie is made in old fashion style. Yep, this movie is nostalgic if you saw Spielberg's old movies and it's good to see another one like it.
Note: There is something interesting in the credits. You might wanna check it out.