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    Oldboy: I'd heard so much negative stuff about this movie that I almost didn't go see it. People didn't like the changes from the Korean original; the studio made people who saw the movie early sign nondisclosure agreements; Spike Lee didn't like the final cut of the movie. And like the new Carrie, I left the theater wondering why this movie was made beause this new movie doesn't go far enough to distinguish itself from the superior original. But that doesn't mean it was a bad movie. What we have here is a decidedly adult entertainment (in an age of PG-13 rated R movies and R rated PG-13 movies) that is deliciously dark, terrifically photographed and outstandingly directed by a master filmmaker who has abandoned his politics for the sake of entertainment. There are problems galore to found in the movie: where Oh Dae-Su in the original was a sympathetic character, Joe Doucette (Josh Brolin) is a son-of-a-bitch from the start, thus making it more difficult to sympathize with him; the character of Adrian Pryce (Sharlto Copley) is underwritten and shallow and not the tower of power and menance that he should have been; the relationships revealed don't add up completely to the resolution sought by Pryce; and the ending (while no less disturbing) doesn't have the resonance of the original. Still, the powerful presences and performances by Brolin and Samuel L. Jackson anchor this movie and make it watchable. It's not as bad as it has been made out to be. I do eargerly await a director's cut of this movie, though.

    3.5/5
    Last edited by srboone; 12-01-2013, 11:54 AM.
    "I'm a vegan. "

    ---Kirby Bliss Blanton , The Green Inferno (2013)

    Comment


      Frozen: Another outing with my 7-year-old-nephew--his second trip to the movies (which makes the experience an 5/5 affair). Disney's take on the "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Andersen. A princess sets out on a quest to convince her sister, the queen, to end the eternal winter she has brought upon the kingdom of Arendale. After an outstanding openning with music that sets a mystical tone for the movie, the songs inexpicably gain a modern sound (for the obvious ploy of radio play), even though the fairy tale tone of the story remains the same. Then the music resumes it's original tone for the uplifting and near epic finale. Overall, it's an outstanding entry into the Disney pantheon of animation (something Disney has desperately needed since its split with PIXAR.) Only one song stands out (head and shoulders above the pedestrian lot of radio fodder cluttering the middle portion of the film): "The First Time Since Forever;" which, not surprisingly, anchors the openning and ending of the movie. And as usual, the animated short preceding the movie nearly outshines the main feature.

      4/5
      Last edited by srboone; 12-02-2013, 04:13 AM.
      "I'm a vegan. "

      ---Kirby Bliss Blanton , The Green Inferno (2013)

      Comment


        Frozen 2D: I took my grandchildren Lily 5, and Wyatt 4, Friday to see this and they enjoyed it and I enjoyed watching them enjoy it. Personally, for me it was just okay.

        This morning I watched Into the Wild. People romanticize this story as a coming of age revelation for this young man but I don't see it that way. The van he took shelter in was 10 miles from the Denali Park road according to the map that was found in his backpack so why was he trying to go the longer 20 mile route that crossed a raging river when he finally figured out he was done chucking it in the wild? To me this is a story about someone who definitely did not know what he was getting himself into and was not prepared in the basics of even navigating with a map. In the end he wrote in his journal that "true happiness can only be found when shared with others." It's just too bad that he had to starve himself to death to figure that out. Unfortunately, there have been several young people who have read the book or seen the movie and went on to do the same thing that this guy did, never to be seen again. Why would they do this? Didn't they read the entire book or watch the movie to the end? He only weighed 68 lbs. when he was found for pete's sake!
        Last edited by pennynutter; 12-01-2013, 01:53 PM.
        " A room without books is like a body without a soul."
        - Cicero

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          We're not all Les Stroud. I'm a bit of an outdoorsman, but I know my limits. A famous UFC fighter, Evan Tanner, also died trying to survive in the wild, though he was in a desert and brought no water with him.

          Comment


            Carrie (2013)

            When Stephen King was told that Carrie was set for a remake, he immediately asked “Why, when the original was so good?” After watching this new version, you will be asking the same question.

            In order for this new version to be a success, it would need to set itself apart from Brian De Palma’s iconic film. Unfortunately, it does not. In fact it does the complete opposite, as one of the main problems with this new version of Carrie, is that it follows in the shadows of the original - with entire scenes and some shots playing out almost identically to the 1976 film. The crucifixion by kitchen utensil finale is a prime example of this. This scene is played out completely differently in the book, so why the need to copy De Palma? The director of this version, Kimberly Peirce, could have either followed the original text from the novel or cooked up something new herself. Copying the entire sequence from De Palma’s vision just enforces the notion that you are watching a poor Xerox of the original classic.

            This unfortunately, becomes apparent very early into the film, as you’ll be yearning for Sissy Spacek, so much more effective as the shy, but supernaturally gifted heroine than the dreadfully miscast ChloŽ Grace Moretz. Simply put, Moretz is far too pretty, too confident, too Hollywood, to be a plausible victim of high school bullying and has to completely overplay the clenched, shrunken body language in an effort to camouflage her natural self-assurance. Having her hair dyed a kind of implausible victim colour in this movie, does nothing to mask her natural beauty. Moretz should have been cast as one of the bullies, or as Carrie’s arch nemesis, Chris Hargensen, to be truly effective in this movie.

            Another problem is Julianne Moore’s portrayal of Margaret White. Where Piper Laurie’s nutcase of a mother was almost supernaturally consumed by her fundamentalism, Moore’s character is a more grounded loon, prone to prodding herself in penance with sewing implements. Her religious fervour is a cross to bear and it’s less effective. Piper Laurie’s portrayal was genuinely scary, her presence on screen always fearsome. Julianne Moore on the other hand, is just too hammy to be scary.

            There are however, some very good set pieces to this new version. It’s great to see the raining stones scene included, together with a much more detailed post-prom showdown between Carrie and Chris Hargensen - as both scenes are much truer to Stephen King’s original vision. Other highlights include a cameo appearance from Hart Bochner (Ellis in Die Hard) as Chris Hargensen’s lawyer father and a truly stand-out performance from Ansel Elgort, who plays Carrie’s prom date, Tommy Ross.

            Whereas these elements of the film are good, director Kimberly Peirce has nothing like De Palma’s verve with suspense. The pig’s blood, dangling above Carrie at her happiest moment, is given strangely token build-up, an almost half-hearted series of cutaways to the prom-goers in the know, and those who aren’t. As the focal point of the entire plot, this scene should have been handled with a lot more suspense and gravitas.

            Instead, Kimberly Peirce chooses to jettison any hint of suspense in order to rush to the climax and subsequent action scenes. This may be ok if the movie was supposed to be a dumb action film instead of a gritty take on Stephen King's classic novel. Then, when the action scenes do arrive, these would be better executed if Moretz didn’t jerk and writhe her arms around like Isadora Duncan on crack every time she uses her telekinetic powers. Together with Moretz’s ridiculously photoshopped eyes and manic grin, the whole prom night massacre jars horribly when compared to how well the original handled it. Moretz’s ongoing penchant throughout the movie for 'Darth Vadering' her tormentors is more George Lucas than Stephen King.

            Although this remake doesn’t see the legacy of Carrie White burn in hell, it does make you truly appreciate Brian De Palma’s stunning 1976 original even more.

            2/5
            Last edited by T-Dogz_AK47; 12-06-2013, 06:14 AM.
            "I watched Titanic when I got back home from the hospital, and cried. I knew that my IQ had been damaged."
            - Stephen King

            Comment


              The Prom Night massacre was dreadfully hokey, and had none of the tension and chaos of DePalma's version. I disagree about Moore and Moretz, I thought Julianne Moore played Carrie's Mom well, and Moretz played a suitable Carrie, though not as appropriate as Spacek, really neither feel like the Carrie from the book in my opinion.

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                RiffTraxx Live!: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians: I can never resist one of these, even when a good movie is openning up. This was the 1991 Christmas episode of MST3K; I remember watching it with my brother and sharing a bottle Southern Comfort. A famously bad movie, the gang at RTL still put on a pretty good show for their 10th live riff. The joke cards before the show began were not as funny as they usually are, but the riffs were as lively as ever and it was a grand night of comedy.

                RiffTrax Live: 4.5/5

                SCCtM: 1/5 (but that's the point!)
                "I'm a vegan. "

                ---Kirby Bliss Blanton , The Green Inferno (2013)

                Comment


                  12 Years a Slave: Despite glowing reviews for this film, I was reluctant to see it because Steve McQueen has directed two other well-reviewed films, neither of which I cared for. Hunger was a exercise in seeing how many different ways you could smear shit on a wall and Shame was a shameless attempt to make a film dealing with sex addiction without any idea on how it should be dealt with. Both came off as shallow, exploitative and pornographic (shit-porn and...porn.) And despite having a great story this time, McQueen has now created soulless slavery-porn.

                  Solomon Northrup is a free-born negro from New York who is a talented carpenter and musician. But apparently he isn't too bright, because he signs up to join a travelling circus to play his violin--all without informing his family. He is then sold into slavery and spends 12 years as a slave until he is finally freed. I haven't read Northup's memoir, but if he spent any time actually playing the violin for audiences, the movie doesn't show it. It doesn't paint a very sympathetic picture of Northup. Then, of course, he is whipped and beaten during his twelve-year ordeal--which McQueen shows in graphic detail. But where one graphic depiction would be enough, McQueen goes for five. Or more. I lost count. And in doing so, the film sinks to the depths of uninteresting melodrama; and the opportunity to show the mental challenges Northup must face is bypassed. His resolve to survive and live is never explored. McQueen seems more interested in the beatings delivered than in those who received the beatings. Northrup has only a co-staring role in his own movie!

                  I did like the way the film didn't delineate time by days, weeks, months and years--time for Northup is measured in the beatings he receives. It puts you right in the middle of Northup's dilemma. And it is really well-acted. Chiwetel Ejiofor was a great choice for Solomon. Different actors act with different parts of their body: Anthony Hopkins acts with his facial ticks; Jack Nicholson acts with his eybrows; Ejiofor acts with his eyes--which is good, because that's the only soul to this movie. But it's sadly not enough.

                  This film is already racking up the awards, so obviously a lot of people disagree with me.

                  But that doesn't make them right!

                  1.5/5 (1 for Ejiofor and 1/2 for the way it deals with time)
                  Last edited by srboone; 12-14-2013, 08:51 AM.
                  "I'm a vegan. "

                  ---Kirby Bliss Blanton , The Green Inferno (2013)

                  Comment


                    Anchorman2: The Legend Continues: Ron Burgundy returns from the obscurity of local San Diego news to head up the 2am time slot the in the first 24-hour news station: GNN. This movie isn't as consistently funny as it's 2004 predecessor, but it is more consistently silly and it has it's moments of razor-sharp satire that make it more memorable (if not quotable) than the original. Even the silliness falls flat at times, but I had a blast at the movie. There is a little tag at the end of the credits for those of you willing to stay through them.

                    3.5/5
                    "I'm a vegan. "

                    ---Kirby Bliss Blanton , The Green Inferno (2013)

                    Comment


                      The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

                      Given my inherent and public dislike for movies laden with CGI, I should of course, absolutely hate this film. However, unlike most other movies that substitute plot and narrative drive for CGI based effects, this film does not. Instead, the film carefully intertwines the special effects with an absolutely excellent level of suspense, drama, and character development.

                      When it comes to the CGI, Peter Jackson has evidently learnt lessons from the crap ‘dinosaur stampede’ scene he directed in King Kong, where the human actors were clearly running in front of a green screen and the dinosaurs crudely pasted into the background. Here the CGI is packed with stunning detail and is deployed seamlessly, so that the spectacle of each effect is juxtaposed with the beautifully stunning New Zealand scenery.

                      It should be noted that this is a much more satisfying film than its predecessor, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The major problem with the former film was that it re-trod too closely to the journey Frodo made in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. For instance, it is difficult to share Bilbo’s awe at entering Rivendell, given that Frodo was shown visiting it back in 2001. The Desolation of Smaug remedies this problem, as the film introduces completely new areas to savour, as Bilbo and the dwarves enter unchartered territory as they continue their journey to Erebor. Mirkwood forest bristles with menace, whilst the fog shrouded Lake Town is almost Dickensian in its stunning set design.

                      Stuffed to the brim with action, a truly stand-out and intense scene happens about an hour into the film, after they have met the sinister denizens of Mirkwood, Bilbo and the dwarves clamber into wooden barrels and are relentlessly pursued by elves and orcs (who are simultaneously waging war) as they rocket down a fast flowing river. The barrels fly at the camera, plunge down waterfalls and bounce off rocks to scatter the orcs like skittles. Reminiscent of Donkey Kong, to Peter Jackson’s King Kong, This amazing action sequence is (pun intended) barrels of fun!!!

                      However, the real paycheck in this movie is the arrival of Smaug himself. Introduced deep in the mountain fortress of Erebor, atop a vast Scrooge McDuck style hoard of gold and jewels - the titular dragon is an absolutely amazing ensemble of CGI artistry, stunning set design and stellar voice casting. Smaug is voiced by the superb Benedict Cumberbatch, who’s sinister and honeyed tones, gives huge personality to the blazing-eyed, spike helmed ‘serpent of the north.’ As the film kicks into full throttle for an immense, half-hour finale that threatens to bring down the mountain itself, Smaug emerges as one of the greatest monsters cinema has ever created.

                      Delivering spectacle by the ton, this is clearly the best movie of 2013. I recommend watching this movie in IMAX 3D to fully appreciate the amazing action sequences and stunning visuals.

                      5/5

                      Last edited by T-Dogz_AK47; 12-28-2013, 09:53 AM.
                      "I watched Titanic when I got back home from the hospital, and cried. I knew that my IQ had been damaged."
                      - Stephen King

                      Comment


                        Sounds like i really need to see it. Still need to watch the first one though.

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by Theli View Post
                          Sounds like i really need to see it. Still need to watch the first one though.
                          You definitely need to watch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, before watching The Desolation of Smaug, otherwise you won't understand what the hell is going on...

                          Rent An Unexpected Journey out on DVD, then get yourself to the nearest IMAX 3D cinema to watch The Desolation of Smaug, as soon as possible.

                          I have added the full theatrical trailer of Desolation of Smaug to my review above, so you can see a taster of how truly awesome this film is...
                          Last edited by T-Dogz_AK47; 12-28-2013, 01:32 PM.
                          "I watched Titanic when I got back home from the hospital, and cried. I knew that my IQ had been damaged."
                          - Stephen King

                          Comment


                            The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Well, I guess I'm going to be the dissenting opinion on this film. The second chapter of Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy follows Bilbo and the band of dwarves as they continue their quest for the Lonely Mountain to reclaim the lost dwarven kingdom of Erebor. It begins with an interesting prologue of Gandalf meeting Thorin in Bree and ends with the emergence of Smaug from the mountain.

                            The first thing that is noticable is that the characters are too thin to support a 9-hour epic (which will be 12-hours after Jackson releases the inevitable extended editions). Tolkien never imagained "The Hobbit" as a sprawling epic; he made it a child's story, full of humor and whimsy--thus the the lack of any real characterization in the book. It's telling that Jackson chose to bring back the character of Legolas (though with none of the sarcastic humor he had in LOTR)--he knows that there is not enough characterization for 9 hours in just the tale of the dwarves. But Jackson wants to have both his sprawling epic and Tolkien's humor and whimsy; however, the two don't marry well as The Desolation of Smaug quickly becomes a series of "Oh, come on!" moments that make it diffiuclt to suspend disbelief for the 160-minute run time of the movie. In the end, this film is more Jackson than Tolkien.

                            The first hour of the film is less than interesting, though never quite boring. My favorite part of "The Hobbit" was the party's encounter with Beorn, and this sequence was easily one of the best in the movie; probably because it is Tolkien's scene and not Jackson's. Yet, while it has the fun and humor of the book, the character of Beorn, as interpreted by Jackson, is a downer. The passage through Mirkwood is less than impressive (given what Jackson has done in the past), but it's the sleep-inducing sequences that follow in the realm of the woodelves that send The Desolation of Smaug into the realm of the ill-fated "Second in a Trilogy" spate of films. Even a lively barrel-ride (again full of Tolikein's humor and whimsy) is diminished by Jackson's over-the-top additions to this otherwise charming scene.

                            The middle section of the film is where Jackson hits his stride with the movie. His Laketown is an impressive set piece and it is here that Jackson's padding of the story is most appealing. His expansion of the characters of Bard and The Master of Laketown give Luke Evans and the wonderful Stephen Fry the opportunity to shine.

                            The third act of the movie takes place at and in The Lonely Mountain and is absolutely atrocious. It consists of a spectacular meeting between Bilbo and the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch at his evil best) and ends with an outrageous cat-and-mouse game that had me looking at my watch, wondering how long is was going to continue. It is also here that Jackson's special effects become lazy. They appear as if they were made pre-1980--of the same quality as a character driving a car against a rolling backdrop screen.

                            So the film has a near-boring first hour, an terrific second hour and an awful last hour. But it's what I expect from a 9-hour version of The Hobbit, but not from Jackson. At the end of An Unexpected Journey, Bilbo exlaims "The worst is over." Well, not quite. At the end of The Desolation of Smaug, Bilbo exclaims "What have we done?" What they've done, is taken a beloved children's story and made a mess of it.

                            2/5

                            Specail mention must be made of Evangeline Lily's character Tauriel who is the film's heart and one of the best things about the movie. That Tauriel is Jackson's creation and not Tolkien's is also telling.
                            Last edited by srboone; 12-29-2013, 09:34 AM.
                            "I'm a vegan. "

                            ---Kirby Bliss Blanton , The Green Inferno (2013)

                            Comment


                              My input about Smaug is that it's loooooonnnnnggggg. I don't mind long but not for the sake of being long, I felt the same about Journey. I also don't understand the use of desolation in the title of this particular installment. I haven't read the book so I'm not comparing it to that.

                              Comment


                                Well, a 5/5 review and a 2/5 review. I suspect reality lies somewhere in between.
                                "I'm a vegan. "

                                ---Kirby Bliss Blanton , The Green Inferno (2013)

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