30 September 2011

Movie Prowlin: 2011 Edition, Vol. 3

Compared to this time last year, I'm up only a small percentage in my movie watching. Interestingly enough, I think my theatrical viewing has decreased, and my Netflix/Redbox renting increased. Additionally, I have really sucked with the reviewing of anything. And for that, I apologize. There was plenty of intention along the way, just no dice. I'm hoping, as we enter the final months of this year, that this site will be alive again with reviews of both movies and television on a daily basis, and with my wibbley wobbly mentality, the Minnesota Geek just might be a worthwhile site.

Newly resolved and the like, I now present to you all the flicks I watched in the third quarter. As always, if you want a review of something from yours truly, just let me know and I shall review it (or revisit it and then review it, depending on how much I remember of the flick). And finally, I really hope to meet my goal of over 200 films watched by years end. So here's me being like Thomas the Train Engine: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Movies Watched in 2011: 01 July 2011 - 30 September 2011

120. Transformers: Dark of the Moon [3D]
121. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
122. The Eagle
123. Hall Pass
124. Arthur
125. Beastly
126. Good Burger
127. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
128. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
129. Captain America: The First Avenger
130. Captain America: The First Avenger
131. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
132. Cowboys & Aliens
133. Crazy, Stupid Love
134. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
135. Star Trek (2009)
136. Dracula 2000
137. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
138. Bridesmaids
139. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
140. Ratatouie
141. Limitless
142. Fright Night [2011]
143. Friends with Benefits
144. Conan the Barbarian [2011]
145. One Day
146. 13 Assassains
147. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
148. Kung Fu Panda 2
149. Shark Night [3D]
150. The Debt
151. Red State
152. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
153. Blue Valentine
154. Your Highness
155. Something Borrowed
156. Horrible Bosses
157. Attack the Block
158. The Tree of Life
159. Cherry
160. Last Night
161. Conan O'Brian's Can't Stop
162. Troll Hunter
163. Wet Hot American Summer
164. The Squid and the Whale

TV Seasons Watched in 2011: 01 July 2011 - 30 September 2011

21. Being Human: Series 3
22. Breaking Bad: Season 2
23. Breaking Bad: Season 3
24. House: Season 4
25. Warehouse 13: Season 2
26. Life Unexpected: Season 1

...and I'm off to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival! w00t!

26 September 2011

MMAM - Vol. 46

This wasn't the music I was going to use today, but honestly, I can't get this track out of my head.

The thing is, SIGNS "Main Theme" freaks the hell out of me.

The hairs on my arm stand up, my body tenses, my eyes dart around looking for something supernatural coming my way, and I prepare to get the frak outta Dodge. This is bone chilling music, but yet --

-- it's beautiful. Amazing, really. One hell of an brilliant, beautiful, amazing piece by James Newton Howard. Like or hate the flick - wow, James did a majestic job.

So it gets major props from me. Frakkin' scary as hell, but also extremely beautiful (and dramatic) to listen to. Think I'll have this on iTunes repeat today...

25 September 2011

Geek Newsroom: Transformers, Spider-Man, Dark Knight Rises

Hello all! Welcome to a new feature. It's a work in progress, just experimenting to see how well this turns out. Tentatively titled 'Geek Newsroom' - and I'm open to suggestions if anyone has a way cooler name (which isn't difficult to achieve) - this (hopefully) weekly Sunday feature will give a preview of the upcoming releases of the week as well as a short rundown of notable movie news the previous week.

News Feed
  • Anne Hathaway in full Catwoman outfit on the set of The Dark Knight Rises (CBM.com)
  • Kiefer Sutherland and Tim Kring team up at FOX with Touch (TVLine.com)
  • Could this Fringe Observer be the next Lex Luthor? (CBM.com)
  • So that Lone Ranger movie might not be so dead after all (Deadline.com)
  • Get ready for some universe hoppin' in Thor 2 (CBM.com)
  • Kai's Top 5 Great Villains from Bad Movies (ManILoveFilms.com)
  • Premiers of Fringe & Supernatural weren't spectacular, but not bad, either (TVLine.com)
  • Easy A director Will Gluck sold comedy about exiled Angel (Deadline.com)
  • Watch these Sci-Fi Shows before Netflix Collapses (GiantFreakinRobot)
  • Those Star Wars Blu-Ray sets are doing okay... (Variety.com)
  • Super awesome sci-fi/fantasy mash-ups (blastr)
  • Community's brilliant homage to Doctor Who: Inspector Spacetime! (YouTube.com)
  • AM lists the Top 10 John Williams Scores (Anomalous Material)

DVD/Blu-Ray Releases
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Hitting DVD/Blu-Ray on Friday, it's worth mentioning for any interested buyers that Paramount's releasing this bare bones, AVATAR-style, with a bonus feature heavy release scheduled for November. So if you want the movie and just the movie, go right ahead and pick up this baby, but if you're like me and love the bonus content, unfortunately you'll have to wait. [Review]

Ben Hur - 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray Special Edition
Had the pleasure of seeing Ben-Hur for the first time a few months ago, and frankly, I loved it. One of the few classics that truly do hold up years and years later. And now it's hitting Blu-Ray in a special edition Gift Set. The reviews have been stellar. Consider this bought - although I would prefer not having the Gift Set.

Notable Comics

Batman: The Widening Gyre
Don't like Kevin Smith movies? Fine. Check out Kevin Smith comics. He's written for The Green Hornet, the upcoming Bionic Man comic (based off his old script), Daredevil, and a successful run on Batman. The Widening Gyre is his latest work with the Caped Crusader, and it's all kinds of awesome. If you have an inkling of interest, do it. You will not be disappointed.

Superman #1
Yes, I'm picking and choosing what comics to include, but c'mon, it's a friggin' huge list. As part of DC's New 52 initiative, Superman's getting an makeover (although I'm still fuzzy if this is a re-imagining or a continuation of the line with a sort of blank slate), and I wager this premiere issue will tackle the Sup's status around Metropolis and more romantic angst between him and Lois Lane.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #2
A lot's happened to the Ultimate Spider-Man line since 2001, and now Peter Parker, the original Spider-Man, is dead, and young Miles Morales picks up the pieces. Truthfully I haven't had a chance yet to check out the new series, but I'm curious to see where Brian Michael Bendis (Powers) takes the line.

New Releases

Been eagerly looking forward to this film for awhile, so the chance of me seeing it this weekend is pretty high. I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I can mostly tolerate Seth Rogen, the script seems funny and dramatic, and there's very little about this flick that doesn't look appealing.

Dream House
...Whereas this, I really couldn't care less about. Now I dig Daniel Craig, and have always fancied Rachel Weisz since The Mummy in '99, but this just doesn't look remotely appealing. If I do see this, it will most likely be via Redbox rental or through some other estranged means.

What's Your Number?
Maybe there's a part of me that doesn't mind painfully bad movies (e.g., I made the choice to watch Something Borrowed last weekend), but this looks weirdly appealing. As in, there's a good chance I'll see it in theaters. I'm not expecting much at all, honest to blog (shameless Juno-isms, blame classes), but Anna Farris is mostly funny, I gots me a man crush on Chris Evans, and it looks like it might not be all bad.

Apparently Margaret has been in post-production Hell for years, and the company is just now throwing it out on the release schedule. Not my cup of tea, but I can't say seeing Anna Paquin's name attached to the flick didn't peak my interest.

Made a quick look at the Wiki page, and in the Plot category there's a Bible quote in lieu of an actual, decent plot summary. Yeah, I'm skipping entirely with a wide smile. Maybe I'll throw on Justified instead.

22 September 2011

The Watcher: 09/16/11 - 09/22/11

I was able to catch up on last weeks titles, and are reviewed below. I'm thinking I might have to change The Watcher to Saturdays in order to accommodate Thursday shows - of which there are many I watch - and would not be able to write about if I want these posts to be on time (rare that may be). So, who knows what will happen. Maybe I'll write about Thursday shows in the following weeks column. *shrug* The good news is: Supernatural premiers tomorrow night! Supernatural premiers tomorrow night! And no force on this earth will stop me from watching its awesomeness.

BREAKING BAD S04E10 - "Salud" (18 September 2011) - Wow. One beautiful word that perfectly summarizes the experience of watching this episode. Breaking Bad has always excelled at nail-biting, seat-gripping suspense/tension, and "Salud" is the show at its best. Not only in regards to the tension the series manages to hold for ten solid minutes, but also the drama that came out of a heartbreaking, rather emotional monologue from Walt to Walt, Jr. regarding his behavior over the last year. It was a truly remarkable scene for Bryan Cranston, and a wonderful turning point for Walter. Hopefully, with his realization it was he who caused a lot of the damage that has been done, Walter will go down a new path that will lead to some interesting elements of character. The real star of the episode was, of course, everything that transpired in Mexico, and Jesse's ultimate owning moment as he tells the manufacture's what's what. There's even a gleaming moment of Gus expressing something akin to pride of young Jesse Pinkman. So, those last ten minutes when Gus exacts his well timed revenge. Oh, that was gripping. Sweet, gripping, wonderful television. Giancarlo Esposito gave one of his finest performances of all time here, next to "Hermanos" (which this is a quasi-sequel to, really). With only three episodes left, I'm both excited and sad to see the series departing. As it stands, Breaking Bad has never been more...wow. Score: 10/10

CHARLIE'S ANGELS S01E01 - "Angel with a Broken Wing" (22 September 2011) - This new, up-to-date series of CHARLIE'S ANGELS is light and fluffy and doesn't have a really engaging bone in its body. I never watched an episode of the original series, but I did quite love the Drew Barrymore/Lucy Liu/Cameron Diaz film (not the sequel), and I would love nothing more than to see that on TV screens every week. This, this I don't want. There's no sense of realism to any of it, and no amount of flashy cars, yachts, or hand held camerawork will give it an edge that I want. The script definitely has no agenda other than to be a harmless, 42-minute episode of girls dressed up all pretty-like, laughing like they're the bestest friends ever, and (most likely) half hearted plots. The premiere episode has two very dramatic elements that could have been beautifully exploited - an unexpected death in the opening minutes and a revenge subplot. It's basically a PG, Disney-esque version of the Angels, and that ain't what I want. For fans of the original series, this update (re-imagining isn't the right word for this) is probably right up their alley. For me, this isn't what I was looking for. With the new addition of Eve to the Angels, there's a chance the show might be more interesting (she seems to fill the Barrymore role), but I think I'll wait to see how the show evolves before I take the plunge again. Score: 7.0/10

NEW GIRL S01E01 - "Pilot" (20 September 2011) - Frankly, I'm surprised as hell. One enjoyable Pilot that wastes absolutely no time in throwing the audience into the premise of the series. Hell, the content that would take up a normal 22-minute Pilot was over and done with by minute five. Jessica was moved into a new place, and she was already in the process of bonding with the guys. It felt more like any normal episode of the series than a premiere, but maybe that's a good thing. And also surprising is how utterly likable Zooey Deschannel as Jessica. Maybe she's just made some bad movie choices as of late, but I've found my love for her to be waning lately, so it was nice to just fall head over shoes in love with her again. But, er, can someone do something about that hair? Please? The cast has a nice chemistry, and judging from this one episode alone, I think the series can work. I'll be checking in to see how the series progresses, but overall, solid premiere. Score: 9.1/10

PERSON OF INTEREST S01E01 -"Pilot" (22 September 2011) - There wasn't one beat in the Pilot I did not like. Lo and behold, here we have the first real "I love this" show of the Fall 2011 season. This is what happens when an millionaire/billionaire (?) and a man with Batman's training combine their talents to save people, both little cases and big cases. Both men have a troubled, dark past, and both men have lost something. They are committed to saving lives and doing the right thing. With the powerful performances from Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson, brilliant writing by Jonathan Nolan, and a very cinematic vibe from director David Semel, PERSONS OF INTEREST feels fresh, something that I am eager to see developed to hopefully a long run. Finally, a procedural I can get behind! And the "Pilot" gets major props for casting the absolutely gorgeous Natalie Zea as the good guy/bad guy. So, so pretty. Plenty of mystery to sustain a series. Guys fighting injustice and fine writing - I'm sold. Score: 10/10

REVENGE S01E01 - "Pilot" (21 September 2011) - Any casual comers to the Minnesota Geek recognize that I love revenge films. So when ABC announced a new series hitting Fall 2011 called, what else?, Revenge, naturally I was sold. And the utterly gorgeous Emily VanCamp (Everwood) in the leading role? Double sold! Luckily, the opening episode was pretty entertaining. There are some 'ugh' points, but overall, the positives definitely outweighed the negatives. The good news is, the series can definitely sustain at least one season. There's plenty of room for Emily's character, Emily/Amanda to wibble and wobble through for 22 episodes, but I don't know if the series can really last being a...y'know, series. So I'll look at Revenge as an extended miniseries. Ms. VanCamp perfects the line of sweet, innocent Emily Thorn to the world around her, and the dark, ass-kicking nature of Amanda. Because every show needs some sort of romantic subplot, there's something involving an old guy friend of Amanda's that might lead to something [there was a wonderful scene involving the man's dog that recognized her, while he did not]. Emily's target is a rich family that framed her father and destroyed his life. From the looks of things, she's going to integrate herself into their lives and stir up mischief. I can deal with that. My only 'ugh' is that we're following the rich - a group of folks I'm not particularly fond of watching. But right now I'm intrigued, and Revenge will be on my weekly list of shows to see. Solid pilot. Score: 9.1/10

RINGER S01E01 "Pilot" (13 September 2011) - Like many folks, I'm excited at the prospect of Sarah Michelle Geller coming back to television. Hell, I'm just happy she's acting in some capacity that isn't a Scooby Doo sequel. So here we have Ringer, a series that definitely benefits from Geller's wide range of talents as she's assigned the task of playing two characters, one of them trying to pass off as the other while the other is supposedly dead. It sounds complicated, but it isn't, and the ending minutes twist wasn't all that twsity. Yes, this is a solid vehicle for Geller to start in, and with her and co-star Nestor Carbonell, I have faith this might be a decent, entertaining show. That said, I am a bit lost (hehe, see what I did there?) on how Ringer expects to have any sort of longevity, ratings-aside. This is a story that can't hold on for more than two or three seasons, max. If they want the series to continue, the premise will need to change quickly and the whole show dynamic will end up being something entirely different by, say, halfway through season two if not sooner. Strong performances and solid writing aside, I do have a problem with the cinematography of the "Pilot." Too many mirrors shots. There is subtlety, and there is blatancy. This is nothing like the beautiful use of mirrors in Black Swan; this is just obnoxious. Overall, the Ringer "Pilot" was well crafted and will prompt me to check out further episodes, but I think this might be the (beginning and) end of me reviewing it, unless the next two episodes really grip me. Good luck, Mrs. Geller. Score: 7.8/10

THE SECRET CIRCLE S01E01 - "Pilot" (15 September 2011) - A lot happened in 42 minutes, inevitably giving it a bit of a rushed feeling, but hell, I really dug the Secret Circle pilot, and I will definitely be coming back for more. And no, it's not just because I have a newfound crush on Britt Robertson (Scream 4), but because - and trust me, this is a surprise - I find the story to be genuinely compelling. Yes, there are some tried and true stereotypes here: the bad girl who wears provocative yet sorta harsh clothing and isn't a fan of Cassie, the bad guy dressed all in black and has great supernatural power, etc. But y'know, I can deal. I want to see what happens to Cassie, and to further surprise matters, I'm now vouching for a Cassie/Adam (Thomas Dekker, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) romance [after all, it's written "in the stars", apparently]. It wasn't an amazing pilot, and some of the actors (and the theme song) has already gotten on my nerves, but I was impressed. I didn't expect to like it, let alone want to continue checking it out, but lo and behold. So until I become bored or the series does something astronomically stupid, which is quite possible, expect The Secret Circle to be a part of The Watcher. Score: 8.7/10

Favorite Episode of the Week: "Salud", Breaking Bad
Standout Performance: Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Best Premiere: Persons of Interest

20 September 2011

Tuesday Cap - Vol. 34

Title: Solomon Kane

Notes: Regrettably, Solomon Kane hasn't made its way to North America, but just about everywhere else in the world. However, when news broke that the flick was making its way online, well - lets just say that I really needed a sword & sorcery fix. For anyone who hasn't heard of this series, based off a relatively acclaimed graphic novel franchise, I'd recommend you do so. Solomon is a warrior looking for redemption, so already you have an interesting, complex character right there. In addition to Solomon's quest to redeem himself, he faces off against demons, Apocalyptic Big Bads, and other forces of darkness that seek to take over the world. Similar to this year's Conan in that respect: evil is basically rampant and a cool, sword-wielding, kickass type of dude comes around to beat the shit out of it. Solomon Kane isn't exactly a film looking to be loved and adorned by its straight forward, edginess - nay, it instead wants to be fun and entertaining and show off extravagant special effects. In that regard, Kane is solid gold. I can safely say I loved and enjoyed every second of this fantasy 'epic', and I wouldn't be opposed to another flick in that universe (which I wager is doubtful, despite mixed reviews). Anyone else care enough to hunt down Solomon Kane? If you haven't, and you like your sword & sorcery epics, this is definitely for you. C'mon: swords! Magic! Demons! End of the World stuff! Giant Evil Monster thingy! Love at first sight.

19 September 2011

MMAM - Vol. 45

I am shamefully late to all forms of contemporary music. One such song, which I think is at least two years old, is MGMT's "Time to Pretend", which I initially heard in SEX DRIVE and then popped up at a bunch of other flicks. After all, that's what happens with popular songs - they show up everywhere, and then audiences get sick of it. Like Flo Rida's "Right Round". At least I think that's the title.

Anyway, so a few days ago I found out that this was the song I dug from SEX DRIVE, and have been blasting it in my dorm room quite a lot. Luckily the roomie isn't around or else he would most likely be 'Grrrr!' So enjoy the awesomeness of "Time to Pretend", or if you're sick of this two or whatever year old song, enjoy the skippiness! If it's any consolation, I was initially gonna put the INVADER ZIM theme for this week, but I thought fifty seconds wasn't long enough awesomeness for y'all. Cheers!

18 September 2011

Scenes I Like A Lot - (500) Days of Summer

The Movie:
(500) Days of Summer

What's Up:
After months without seeing Summer, Tom runs into her on a train and she invites him to a party. She gives the invitation innocently, but Tom runs a different scenario in his head. He envisions a scenario where Summer invited him to rekindle their relationship, to talk to him one on one. He sees her being more intimate with him - a hug, a brush of hand, long gazes, etc. This is what he expects, but reality...nah, not even close to the same. Director Marc Webb and screenwriter Scott Neustadter beautifully craft this scene that depicts both Tom's expectations and what actually happens at the party.

Why I Dig It:
What's not to love? I want to mention how utterly brilliant the split screen device is used. First time I saw this movie in the theater, I had chills because of how awesome - and honest - this was. There are at least a hundred instances where I can relate to Tom's mentality and the reality of the actual event. Not only was this splendidly written and realized, but it hits home, and I love it for that. Hell, the entirety of (500) DAYS OF SUMMER I salute for being so bloody honest, yet finding a surprising balance of drama and comedy in all this misery and suckiness. And let's not fail to mention Joseph Gordon-Levitt who is, once again, awesome in the role of Tom, making each stolen glance or satisfied chug of wine as hurtful as the situation. In the end, I relate, I love how the scenario is visualized, and I love how this utterly engaging scene - which could have been really boring - helps push Tom into a different direction where he gets his life in order. I love this movie.

17 September 2011

This is totally mine, and I LOVE it!

Yeah, that's hanging up on my dorm room wall...

If you don't know what that is, A) shame on you, and B) that's the TARDIS exploding, as painted by Vincent Van Gogh in the DOCTOR WHO episode "The Pandorica Opens". See, The Doctor met Vincent in an earlier Series 5 episode. They bonded. Later on, he had a vision. The TARDIS, The Doctor's time travel machine, exploding, basically eviscerating all of reality. That's bad. Vincent drew the painting as a warning for The Doctor, a painting that survived thousands and thousands of years until River Song (Alex Kingston, "ER") was able to get her hands on it and present the painting to The Doctor. Ultimately, the fate of the TARDIS was inevitable, leading to one hell of a jaw-dropping cliffhanger and questions that still have yet to be answered.

But most importantly --

It's so PRETTY!!!!

If anyone else is interested - and I know ya are - I also have up an SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD poster, two other DOCTOR WHO's, and one HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS with Harry and Voldemort's face meshing into one. It's pretty awesome.

Alright, back to my regularly scheduled doing homeworkness.

Actually nah. It's the weekend. I'm gonna watch some more INVADER ZIM, and then maybe take a peak at BURN NOTICE after three people told me with absolute enthusiasm that I will love it. We'll see.

And finally: if you haven't watched DOCTOR WHO. Yeah. You should.

Simply Script: No. 10


Script by Kevin Smith

I don't think your manager would

(turning the page)
I don't appreciate your ruse, ma'am.

I beg your pardon!

(reading on)
Your ruse. Your cunning attempt to
trick me.

(defending herself)
I only pointed out that you weren't
paying any attention to what I was

(turning page and reading)
I hope it feels good.

You hope what feels good?


I hope it feels so good to be right.
There is nothing more exhilarating
than pointing out the shortcomings
of others, is there?

The INDECISIVE CUSTOMER wears a face that belies utter
disbelief in the audacity of this most lackadaisical video
clerk. The unmoving newspaper illustrates the total
disinterest of the news-hungry RANDAL. The INDECISIVE
CUSTOMER shakes her head in disgust and throws the movies
back onto the wall.

(in a huff)
Well this is the last time I ever
rent here...

You'll be missed.

(losing it altogether)
Screw you!

16 September 2011

Andy's Friday Five: Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith is one of those love him or hate him filmmakers. Hell, there's some who wouldn't even call him a filmmaker. Personally, I love the guy. And not because I enjoy me a dick and fart joke. It's not that. Sure, I enjoy the occasional dick and fart joke, but it's not as if the entirety of a Kevin Smith movie is about that. It may be surprising to some to say that Smith's movies have heart. They're raw, honest. I don't feel like I'm being spoken down to. These are exceptionally crafted, character driven movies that have a style all their own, and never feel corny or phoned in. I respect Kevin Smith, and I like the work that he does.

Thus, now after having just had the opportunity to watch his recent flick RED STATE, I present for today's post my five favorite Kevin Smith movies in order of loveness. Once you take a gander, I'd love to hear your thoughts on his flicks. Next week, hoping to get back to the 'Year in Movies' thing I was trying to cultivate. Until then, enjoy, and check out RED STATE!

1. Clerks II, here Kevin Smith accomplished what is normally impossible: made an sequel that is, in this bloggers opinion, superior to the original. In fact, I look at this flick as Smith's crowning achievement - his best told story, most visually pleasing presentation, and flick that boasted the best performances. This is a real, honest, raw, and quite friggin' hilarious day in the life of Dante and Randal as they make life changing decisions in their 30's/40's (?), reaching the end of their ropes and finally choosing to make some forward movement in their directions. The clerks' story is nicely padded by the absolutely spectacular Rosario Dawson, who fits right in with the Kevin Smith universe and makes it impossible for any man in existence not to fall in love with her. Jay and Silent Bob even have their own integral part to play in the narrative, culminating in a great, 8-minute prison sequence that is just mesmerizing to watch. All in all, everything is simply done right, I feel, with Clerks II. Smith had a story to tell, and he accomplished that expertly. The best script he's written, the best movie he's made, this is his best.

2. Dogma is another one of Smith's 'controversial' films, but that entirely depends on the viewer. Obviously, consider this is my number two, I'm not offended by anything here; instead, I'm head over TARGET-shoes in love with it all. Specifically Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as the two Angels trying to get back into heaven after a loophole is revealed to them. To say they own this movie is an understatement. Everything without them is still fun in its own right, but once these two get back on screen, Dogma has a energy about it that sucks you up. One of my favorite Kevin Smith scenes is featured here: Damon and Affleck's banished Angels visit the Heads of Moobys, as in the chair heads behind the Moobys franchise, and they wreck vengeance upon them in a tense, hilarious 7-minute monologue.

3. Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a movie that was hit with a lot of negative press over its title, and unfortunately ended up not doing well box office-wise, which is a real shame. I'm a real sucker for those romantic comedies/dramas that see two friends realize that they may have a thing for each other. Cliched to the max, but I'd rather watch that scenario play out a dozen times than see another Katherine Heigel romcom. And take that cliche and give it to Smith - you got a compelling movie (not to mention a load of cultural references, which there are many). A slimming Seth Rogen and comedy gold Elizabeth Banks are awesome as Zack and Miri, respectively. You believe they're best of friends, and the chemistry between them is brilliant. Once again, there's loads of scenes I love, but above them all is probably the Brandon Routh/Justin Long cameo. Watch this movie just for that, if for no other reason. Naked women are great and all - and the movie has that plenty - but Zack and Miri's story, as told by Smith, is hugely entertaining, and contains just the same raw honesty of his Clerks II.

4. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is the ultimate geek movie. First and foremost, anyone who is a fan of Smith's films will find interconnected subplots and characters from other flicks popping up over here, making this an big budget inside joke, basically. Luckily for me, I love his flicks, so that extra flavor of pointing and going "aHa!" is just gravy on the top. Secondly, it's cameo city. I'm not going to ruin it, but anyone who was popular back in 2000/2002ish show up in cameos or extended roles. Thirdly, geek culture is front and center here. No series/saga is left untouched. It's hilarious. It's Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes making a buddy movie, and we're all invited to the fun journey. Not for everyone, but this flick does more good than bad.

5. Clerks at the bottom of the list is probably blasphemy, but at least it's on the list, right? I'm not nearly in love with the original as I should be, but it has loads of great scenes in it, and Kevin Smith's dialogue is crisp and brilliant as ever. Dante and Randal are characters I love, and their debut is actually quite solid filmmaking. Nice use of hand held, nice framing, etc. Only thing a bit dodgy about the whole thing is the lighting, which can be dark at times (although understandably so). What I love about this movie is the dialogue and the characters, and mesh them together and you got gold. Conversations about Death Star contractors, number of people Dante's slept with, paying attention to customers at your store, etc. - pretty entertaining stuff at the hands of Smith. And Jeff and Brian, the actors playing Randal and Dante, are instantly likable. My only lack of love stems from not being entirely engulfed in the film as I am with Smith's other works. Perhaps I'm not as grabbed onto the situations, or it does hit home personally for me yet (although Randal's video store stuff does mightily so), but nonetheless, I love and respect the original.

How about y'all? Speak your mind about Kevin Smith!

15 September 2011

The Watcher: 09/09/10 - 09/15/11

Two shows end end this week, which is kinda sad. There were two new shots that premiered this week that I wasn't able to watch this week, but will hopefully be viewed and reviewed by next. Fall is upon us, and with it, the return of many shows I hold dear. I won't be reviewing all of them (like COMMUNITY or BIG BANG THEORY), but I think there's maybe seven shows I'll still be following, if not more. So for those who care, The Watcher will be reviewing SUPERNATURAL, FRINGE, NIKITA, CHUCK, DEXTER, WALKING DEAD, and probably a few others I forgot. Anyone else excited? Or too bummed from the departure of TRUE BLOOD? Still got a few more BREAKING BAD episodes to go, so be happiez!

BREAKING BAD S04E09 - "Bug" (11 September 2011) - Not up to par with last weeks, but damn, if that wasn't a brutal - but honest - fight between Jesse and Walter. But frankly, about damn time. Walter has no ability to talk to people, always coming off as an ass, so good for Jesse to finally give up and just beat Walter. The scene involving the shootout at Gus' place was also particularly awesome, as Gus walks out into the stream of bullets, arm raised, mocking the shooters. A pretty intense scene, riveting both in performance and screenwriting. Excited to see where this season is heading (I feel like I say that every week, but it's true, man!) Score: 8.0/10

TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY S04E10 - "The Blood Line" (09 September 2011) - So here we are, the end of the line. TORCHWOOD is over for the foreseeable future. The ratings were fine, but I don't know if they were impressive enough to warrant a season renewal by Starz, or if Davies would be interested enough to shop the series to another network. Point is, for right now, this is the end of TORCHWOOD, and although 'The Blood Line" is fine entertainment on its own, the whole MIRACLE DAY series rather blew. Not the series at its brightest moment. Although I said it was enjoyable, "The Blood Line" still is far from satisfactory, not offering nearly enough information and tying the whole shebang up far too quickly after spending nine episodes building this new world. Since this is the last TORCHWOOD review for a while, I'm going to spend my time on it.

The first two episodes of MIRACLE DAY started well enough. Set up of characters, dilemma, tone, etc. Fine, loved it. Then episode three came around, and things just sucked until episode seven. Although the characters moved around a lot, and this Category One/Two/Three thing was introduced, those episodes felt like nothing happened. No forward momentum. And y'know, now that the entire series is out to see, those episodes didn't amount to anything. What was accomplished in four episodes could have been condensed into one solid, gripping hour and left a whole lot of mythology and action and backstory to come up to the front. Primarily, episodes three-seven are just frustrating. Missed opportunities, lazy writing of what could have been a thrilling narrative, and a general lack of direction. And when we get to the finale, and a large chunk of stuff is unexplained and no one has any answers for it (including Jack), it feels like Davies and his crew went into this without a full story, which I know isn't his style, so what gives?

So instead of complaining about what didn't work with MIRACLE DAY, what did work? Well, Jack was well written, and Gwen shined this series brighter than ever before. She was truly a force to be reckoned with. I appreciated where Oswald Danes ended up, and even though it was a bit of a tease and feels a bit like a cop out, the revelation at the end of "The Blood Line" of Miracle Day being just one part of a much larger plan - yeah, that was pretty cool. Some of the actions scenes were pretty nice, and as time went on, I really dug Rex and, to an extent, Esther. The only thing these characters needed was more opportunities that would allow them to shine. Truthfully, there were some nice twists along the way; I enjoyed seeing some more Jack backstory, including the scene in "Immortal Sins" that I always wanted to see [Jack being endlessly killed over and over by pesky people].

But still: why did Jack turn mortal when everyone else become immortal? It comes across as more of a plot device than a logical consequence of The Blessing. And yes, here I am talking logic about a sci-fi series. Why did Jack's blood do anything anyhow? As Jack said multiple times in the course of the series, it's not his blood that makes him special. Bloody hell! And after spending episodes setting up this frakked up world where Category Ones were burnt to 'death', "The Blood Line" doesn't address how the world is coping with suddenly being mortal again, or if there are any legal proceedings going on concerning what just happened the last three months, etc. The whole world changed, and it's not even addressed.

All this said, "The Blood Line" was still pretty cool. I loved the twist involving the blood transfusion, and I LOVED when Gwen killed Jack. BRILLIANT. And Gwen's voice over monologue is just as chillingly brilliant as Eve Myles' acting. So freakin' cool. Oswald's fate was nice, too, and I loved Chapiro's reaction to finding out who the mole was (I hope he survived the blast).

In the end, TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY will be looked at as a series with missed opportunities, and I don't foresee me revisiting the episodes often. I might rewatch the episodes in one big sweep, just to see if seeing them in order one after another in quick succession will change my mind. Until this, Torchwood, it was great having you back. I hope this isn't the end. See you soon. Score: 7.5/10 | Season Score: 6.7/10

TRUE BLOOD S04E12 - "And When I Die" (11 September 2011) - Here endith the series' most cohesive, competent, entertaining season to date. With lots of deaths. But judging from the theme of this episode, I'm guessing not a lot of dead people are going to stay peacefully dead in Bon Temps. As for "And When I Die", it was a pretty entertaining and satisfying conclusion to the Season of the Witch (as showrunner Alan Ball likes to call it) storyline. First, guess it's worth mentioning all the deaths. We have Jesus, killed by Marnie-as-Lafayette. It sucks that Lafayette has something he loves taken away from him, but on the plus side, he did have, what, two seasons worth of Jesus' affections? That's longer than most characters get on this show. And then, of course, Tara getting a part of her head blown off. Pretty gruesome, but cool simultaneously. Of course we know she's coming back, but the how should be pretty interesting. I did love that Sookie was so full of rage she killed Alcide's ex with the shotgun. Any opportunities to darken her character or make her character tougher, I'm all for. With regards to cliffhanger endings, what exactly is going on with Sam and that wolf thingy? Why of all the cliffhangers they could have given the character, they went with that? Felt sorta...anticlimatic. But at least he had a nice funeral scene over Tommy's grave with his new romantic interest (who I hope returns next season).

Sookie tells both Eric and Bill that she loves both of them loads, but she can't be involved with either of them. Sadness. But good for her. She needs to get out of this supernatural world - although we know it will pull her back in - but any forward momentum in regards to character growth is a major plus. Bill and Eric also get some blood on their hands in an tense and graphic scene where they kill the 400-year old vampire chick who was pulling Bill's strings for the earlier part of the season. That was pretty cool, and also was nice to see the two vamps work together. Jessica and Jason have a none-relationship relationship filled with sex, so although Jason wants something more, he's still getting a pretty good deal. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but what happened with the faerie stuff from last week? Did that have any momentum? I wished Alan Ball concluded these storylines before moving onto the next thing, sometimes.

So all in all, an pretty damn good season with great performances, sometimes awesome story beats and sometimes godawful WTF? worthy plots. But it's definitely TRUE BLOOD at its strongest, and the characters show a clear progression which I'm finding quite interesting to watch. Onto next year...which already seems so far away. Yet, also feels like season 3 just ended, and then season 4 was already upon us, and now that just ended. Yikes. Time flies. See ya next year. Score: 9.2/10 | Season Score: 8.7/10

14 September 2011

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

Conan the Barbarian

Starring Jason Moma, Stephen Lang, Rachel Nichols, Rose McGowan, Ron Pearlman, Leo Howard, Bob Sapp
Written by Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, Sean Hood
Directed by Marcus Nispel
Release: 19 August 2011
Lionsgate, 112 mins., Rated R

Plot: Conan kills his way to the sinister king Zym who killed his father and massacred his village.

Remakes, remakes, remakes. But y’know what? I don’t mind a remake of Conan the Barbarian. The original 1982 film with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan is less than perfect, and the property is interesting enough that modern audiences just might find themselves enjoying the ride, so all in all, I’m happy to see the Barbarian on the big screen again. So how did it fair?

Like the original, Conan the Barbarian 2011 is a revenge story. As a boy, he watched his father burn to death right in front of him, and he vows vengeance to kill the man and everyone connected to his father’s murder. 20 years later, said man who did the killing is now a King and is on his way to achieve Godhood: he just needs to kill some “pureblood” girl to complete the spell and he’ll be all powerful and stuff. Really, the plot is just loosely there. This film is about Conan killing his way to the bad guy, leaving a trail of bodies behind, and the audience having a fun time watching. So, it definitely succeeds in that regard.

Taking over for Schwarzenegger is the muscular Jason Moma, who brings a sense of fun to the role and is entirely believable as a kickass action hero. Then again, it’s not like he’s entirely foreign to the role, after slicing some heads in HBO’s Game of Thrones and saving universes in Stargate: Atlantis. Watching Moma exact vengeance, woo the gorgeous female heroine, and take his bloody revenge is the best aspect of the film and entirely worth the price of admission alone. Basically, Moma owns. As the love interest (which is weird for being a monk), Rachel Nichols is the object of the Bad Guy’s desire – humorously named Zym [note to bad guys: don’t name yourself Zym; I kept wishing the ‘ittle green alien from that Nick show would appear and zap Zym to pieces] – and although she is important to the plot, she unfortunately isn’t given much more than to look pretty and be in distress (although she is given a moment or two to fight, which is appreciated).

The bad guy is hilariously performed by Stephen Lang (Avatar), who indulges in overacting like nobody’s business. He and Ron Pearlman, who plays Conan’s late father, must have arrived on set either for the paycheck or the bloody fun of it. Lang’s bad guy Zym is aided by his daughter Marique, played by Rose McGowan (Charmed), a sorcerer whose makeup is absolutely frightening to look at. Note to ladies: if you don’t want to get hit on during Halloween, congrats, you found your costume.

Conan 2011 is competently directed by Marcus Nispel, who is no stranger to remakes (Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre). His take is less atmospheric than the original (which was longer paced, created dread for Conan’s victims), but it is grittier and bloodier. Grit aside, it does seem a bit more fun. And that’s the thing about Conan 2011 that I love and don’t love: it is fun and enjoyable, but it could have been so much more. So it all comes down to this: if you’re looking for a sweeping epic with a brooding barbarian lusting for revenge, it doesn’t exactly deliver. If you want a fun, action-packed flick that is highly entertaining and doesn’t require a lot of thought, than Conan delivers. Unfortunately the box office return as rather dismal, and the outlook for a sequel is rather bleak, so go out and enjoy Conan while you can.

Rating: 7.5/10 = Not bad entertainment at all, but there is definite room for improvement. That said, CONAN is fun, and the sword fights are pretty cool. Plus, Jason Moma rocks as Conan. If these reasons are enough, than CONAN's your movie.

13 September 2011

Tuesday Cap - Vol. 33

Title: Back to the Future II

Notes: Y'know, it's not my second favorite, but I sorta wished that screencap came true: I would absolutely love to see JAWS 19. Pretty sure I might be one of very few, but personally, more half-quality shark films for me! Although I will always love Marty and the Doc, I wasn't a huge fan of the future aspect, oddly enough. I didn't very much care about the characters or time being all wibbely wobbly and Biff becomes a multi-gazillionaire. Nah, not my cup of tea (which is weirdly why I love Back to the Future III: time travel and westerns...sorta feel like they go together). I still respect the hell out of Part II, and will attempt to defend it to my grave if anyone wants to go all 'grr' at it, but my least favorite of the trilogy...but still, that JAWS scene is brilliance.

General thoughts on BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II?

12 September 2011

MMAM - Vol. 44

To commemorate the release of the STAR WARS SAGA on Blu-Ray this Friday - for good or bad - today I will be giving the big salute to John Williams and his magnificent work on all six films. The guy deserves the kudos. I am so pleased that Williams was available to score all of 'em; it just wouldn't feel right if he wasn't present for the Prequels. Just imagine a world without "Duel of the Fates." Yep, it's a sad world. Anyway, dedicated to the Prequel Trilogy, here is...

"Duel of the Fates", Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace

"Across the Stars", Star Wars - Episode II: Attack of the Clones

"Battle of the Heroes", Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

08 September 2011

The Watcher: 08/26/11 - 09/08/11

BREAKING BAD S04E07 - "Problem Dog" (28 August 2011) - Hank's final scene where he details his investigation to his peers makes this episode worth it. Frankly, I wasn't entirely impressed by the Walt/Skylar scenes, and I haven't been for a long while, but I did love seeing Jesse just spill the beans and say what's what at the therapy meeting and Hank getting closer to the truth (although I have no doubt there will be many obstacles in his way). Obviously, my main source of happiness is Hank finally on Gus' trail which will ultimately lead him to Walt and most likely create some gorgeous drama. But I'm also intrigued where this whole scenario will take Jesse. Thankfully there's a little forward progression with his guilt-ridden character, but I sorta want him to reach his destination already, or a inkling of how he will turn out. By no means do I want a Walt vs. Jesse end to this season. Ugh. Score: 8.5/10

BREAKING BAD S04E08 - "Hermanos" (4 September 2011) - Now there's a breathtaking, utterly intense episode. For the first time in two seasons, we get a closer look at Gus - how he came to be who he is, his emotional state, a look at his ability to multitask and lie on the spot convincingly, it's simply a marvelous episode in the categories of writing, directing, and (especially) acting. There's already so many marvelous reviews of "Hermanos" out there that really delve deep into the intricacies of the episode, so I'll leave you to searching those up. But this was a masterpiece of an episode. Bravo, guys. Gus commanded the screen before. Now, I am absolutely freakin' glued. A man who wants revenge is a dangerous, addicting thing. Only thing I can do without is Walt mumbling and being all submissive. I want his dark side to take over now, I want that transformation to badass to begin. That said badass who killed those two guys in the penultimate season three finale. C'mon, Walt, make me interested in you again! Score: 9.7/10

RESCUE ME S07E08 - "Vows" (31 August 2011) - Not bad. Not bad at all. Going back to the shows humorous roots before an expected dramatic turn. A lot happens in "Vows": Colleen and Black Shawn get married [which is hard to actually believe, because it feels like just yesterday when she was still a smart-mouthed teen], Tommy and Janet renew their vows, the team enters an fire and it don't look like all of them are coming back. Sheila even is given a surprising amount of time to develop, and true to character, her appearance is both hilarious and heartfelt. As an penultimate episode to a series, it feels fitting, and fairly conclusive. Lots of funny bits with Tommy's unintentional racist remarks, time spent with the Gavin family, fighting drinking, and sweet romantic moments. RESCUE ME ain't getting soft on us, is it? [see next episode] Overall, "Vows" is a series highlight. Score: 9.6/10

RESCUE ME S07E09 - "Ashes" (07 August 2011) - I didn't know what to expect, but it certainly wasn't "Ashes." Weirdly, it both felt like a series finale and just another episode. There is definitely a feeling of closure, yet also that the story could easily go on. So after the final cliffhangery moments of "Vows", there is a fatality, but just not as extreme as I suspected. Peter Tolan and Denis Leary are both geniuses of misdirection, and the opening minutes is the duo at their absolute best. Lou stands in front of five coffins and gives a speech to hundreds of funeral attendees, and then the reveal comes. Brilliant, brilliantness. Beautifully misleading. Oddly, though, part of me would be interested to see how that world would turn out. Sure, killing off the main guy would probably be the easy way out, but simultaneously, the way Tommy Gavin is, it felt right that he would perish on the job and at his personal best. And the way "Vows" was setup, it seemed like doom was on the horizon for Tommy.

There was doom, but in a different way: emotional turmoil. His best friend is gone, and with his death, 62 Truck is basically ripped apart, and "Ashes" shows the characters together for the final time. Even with that element of drama, though, there is a surprising about of funny in "Ashes". For example, the whole bit involving the urn with the ashes spraying all over the guys in the truck - hilarious, especially when the cop came over. And Tommy having to deliver his son - despite how unlikely that whole series of events was - was comically genius and well acted. Basically, the most surprising thing about "Ashes" is that it is an happy ending, in a way. Yes, someone died, but with that death, positives came out of it. A child is born, the firehouse family splits but stays the same, Tommy decides to forego drinking, etc. The episode acknowledges that he has a long way to go still, and he needs to maintain making the choice to stay sober, but here we get to see Tommy make the choice not to drink, and his speech to the new firefighter recruits shows that he understands his problems won't be saved by a bottle. There is evolution to Tommy Gavin, and it's been interesting to see. I also loved Tommy's ghostly visitation at the end - one of my favorite elements of RESCUE ME has been the visions of dead people.

So here we are. The final episode of RESCUE ME. It's been a helluva ride. Ups and downs, positives and negatives, there's no denying the show is something unique, though. Thank you Denis Leary, FX, Peter Tolan, and everyone involved in the production of this show. It's been a great seven years. Score: 8.7/10 | Season Score: 8.0/10

TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY S04E08 - "End of the Road" (26 August 2011) - I'm writing this over a week after the episode aired, and hell if I remember what happened. So I checked the net, and now I remember that Wayne Knight blew himself and some other people up in a air, and that alien technology has finally found its way into the narrative in the form of that thingy Jack's looking at on that there screencap. More political mumbo jumbo, more stuff about operatives working for The Families inside the CIA, etc. You can tell that there is some form of movement, but again, just not enough. When Jack figures out what the object in the floor is, he is completely worried, very un-Jack like, and we get the sense that this thing is directly tied to Jack, or whatever this thing is, it ain't good, and Jack needs to get away from it for some super awesome reason. But there isn't one. I can't wait for the Big Reveal to happen, and then everything we've watched - including the ridiculous, seemingly pointless episodes - will have meaning we didn't know about before. Hopefully. As it stands, "End of the Road" is an step in the right direction. Now let's see where this goes. Score: 7.3/10

TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY S04E09 - "The Gathering" (2 September 2011) - With only one episode left to go before the season finale, the series is moving its ass to put all the pieces in the right places. Why couldn't they have done this episodes ago, man? So yes, a lot happened in "The Gathering", but the rub is, there should have been some natural progression to this whole string of events, instead of it all just happening in 55 mins. Speaking of 55 mins., how on earth is this whole thing gonna be wrapped up in 55 mins.? Russell T. Davies isn't Steven Moffat - he likes things all finished and wrapped up at the end of a series, so how can there be a natural conclusion to this thing that still has so much unexplained/up in the air? Better be a damn brilliant 55 min. finale.

So here we are. 'The Gathering." Team Torchwood is now at Buenos Aires/Shanghai with the intent on discovering what The Blessing is, how to stop it, and save the world for not dying. Well, Gwen wants to stop the Miracle so she can save her father. Rex is working outside the system to bring the Miracle down and not tip off the CIA operative (but that doesn't work too well). Jack still seems connected to how this Blessing came to be, although I still don't understand the specifics of The Blessing. Hell, we really don't know too much of anything right now. Like I said, better be one hell of a brilliant 55 min. season finale. Score: 8.9/10

TRUE BLOOD S04E10 - "Burning Down the House" (28 August 2011) - Like most episodes of this series, episodes can be broken down into pro/cons. Pro: I genuinely liked Tommy's death scene, and can't wait to see how Sam reacts to it. Sookie is now in the thick of this Antonia business. Actually, speaking about Antonia, Fiona Shaw is absolutely excellent here. Great performance. Ms. Shaw, and I especially like how Marnie and Antonia are now at odds with one another...sorta. Jason needs to make up his mind about Jesse pronto before my patience goes kaput. Oh! And I almost forgot about the opening scene, probably the best part of the ep: Sookie using her supernatural powers to stop the bloodfest at the convention center or whatever from claiming Bill and Eric's lives. As a consequence, Eric regains his memories, and a rift is made between the two love birds. Interesting. Where are they gonna take this? Score: 8.0/10

TRUE BLOOD S04E11 - "Soul of Fire" (4 September 2011) - Lots of good, some bad. First the good: loved the awesomeness of Sookie surrounded by a ring of fire [DISLIKE: Sookie being helpless], loved that Sookie used her mojo faerie juice to stop Antonia from dustin' her vamp friends. Didn't mind Eric and Bill being stupid and choosing to sacrifice themselves as long as it meant Sookie was safe, but I loved when Pam was in utter disbelief at their stupidity. Liked the Jesse/Jason scenes, as usual. Liked Jesus getting his inner mojo on, and the nifty special effects and makeup involved in that. Loved that Marnie got a bunch of bullets in her now, and I loved Eric snatching out that one obnoxious redneck's heart. Also loved Sammy taking his revenge for Tommy's death. That was pretty cool. So a lot of good elements. What I don't like: the big episode-ending twist that sets up the finale. Really, show? Really? Sheriff Andy's V addiction brings him to...getting shagged by a faerie and vowing to protect her (which will most likely put him at odds with Sookie next week)? Now that's just dumb. Still not too sure what the hell to feel about Eric and Sookie not really talking to each other or really even acknowledging the tender romance they had mere days ago. Meh. Whatcha gonna do. Overall, a good season with lots of positives and a few groan worthy moments. Let's hope the season finale makes all those UGH! subplots/scenes worth it. Score: 9.1/10

07 September 2011

Shark Night 3D

Shark Night 3D

Plot: Over-age stereotypes vaca in digital shark infested waters.

I’ve come up with a half dozen different ways to start off this review, but they all seemed to be a way too wordy and failed to really hit home what I wanted to say. So here it is: Shark Night 3D sucks. It really, completely, 100%, honestly does. If anyone watches the Syfy Channel anymore (now that’s a rant for another day), I guarantee you’ll find more enjoyment from their Original Movie crapfests. They excel at bringing Z-grade storytelling, ‘acting’, special effects, music, the whole bit. Yet despite the fact they make really, really bad movies, I’d rather give ‘em a go before watching Shark Night again.

What did I expect? I expected sharks on a human-chomping frenzy. I expected a movie to live up to its title. I didn’t pay for the ticket with the hope I’d be met with dimensional characters or a halfway solid plot. Hell, I’d be plenty satisfied if the plot was paper thin, so as long as we got the sharks. The title says it all right there: Shark Night. The poster promises shark bites. We did not get this. The creative team behind Shark Night couldn’t even follow through with the premise.

I want shark attacks, and what’s here instead are quick five second shots of some of the most painful big budget digital effects in recent years. Oh, and a dozen or so dorsal fin shots that never hold the same menace as that 1975 film. Point is, the sharks are hardly in this movie. Instead we’re treated to human beings that I reluctantly attribute the concept of ‘characters’ to, personifying the very definition of stereotypes.

Again, if the creative team gave us sharks – and lots of ‘em – I could care less about the ‘nerdy’ guy who we recognize as a nerd because he has glasses but has abs of steel that would make Captain America jealous, or the black guy who is using the nerd just so he could pass class while concentrating his efforts in sports. Or the redneck hillbilly stereotypes. Or the gorgeous blond girl with a fuzzy past and intimacy issues. Or the super, super, super senior college student played by an actor I’m pretty sure is in his 40’s. I could overlook a number of these ‘elements’ if they just gave us some bloody sharks!

Alas, the cumulative runtime of them onscreen is probably no more than 5 minutes. I think there’s one genuinely decent scene with the sharks, but that’s about it (if you really have to see it, I’ll leave this nondescript so you can enjoy it). So very little in the way of sharks, cardboard cutouts of individuals often referred as ‘characters’ in good movies, crappy digital effects, a ridiculous script, it all comes down to this: is it at least fun?

Honestly, no. Not even in a ‘this-is-so-so-bad, it’s-sorta-good’ kinda way. Piranha 3D somehow achieved that; My Bloody Valentine 3D accomplished just that in spades. The final judgment of this reviewer is to skip Shark Night 3D at all costs. [And yes, I did see this in 3D, and boy was it not worth it; sorta makes me want to go back and time and see Jaws 3D just to compare] If at some point you are forced into going or decide to sacrifice yourself by seeing it, just do yourself a favor and stay ‘till after the credits: there’s a music video that is far more entertaining than the feature itself.

Rating: 2/10 - Watch anything else. Syfy Channel Original junk, SHARK ATTACK 3, what have you; just not this. Unless you're doing your own Rifftrax commentary! Upload that. Should be neat.

06 September 2011

Tuesday Cap - Vol. 32

Title: The Village

Notes: If you feel the need to riff on Shyamalan, go right ahead. Lord knows I did it after THE LAST AIRBENDER ended. But THE VILLAGE is a weird movie. On one hand, I am genuinely pissed that we didn't get a proper creature feature. That's what the trailer made it out to be, that's what it damn well shoulda been. And Mr. Phoenix looked just stoned or utterly bored the entire time, sorta like how James Franco looks like these days. Bryce did an amazing job, also worth noting. And this scene, pictured above, freaks me the shit out. Honestly. M. Night shot this scene spectacularly. I turn cold, chills crawl up me spine, and I'm glued to the screen. I also think this is the first time I ever got freaked out by an creature in daylight, so M. Night deserves kudos for that alone. On the other hand, it is a pretty shitty movie. When the big reveal is...revealed, and the credits roll and the audience is allowed to think about the whole flick - well, it doesn't hold up. The kinda badish but weirdly believable Howard/Phoenix romance is nice and all, but still...very meh. Actually, the whole movie is meh. And this is also one of the first instances where M. Night's signature one shots actually work to the films detriment. Right now the scene where William Hurt is talking to the schoolchildren or whoever about these skinned animals on the floor springs to mind - it's excruciating to watch because the entire time I'm mentally yelling at M. Night to cut to a different shot to make Hurt sound better! So all in all, THE VILLAGE is a mixed bag for me. Surprisingly I still find myself throwing it in the DVD player, perhaps out of genuine likeness to it or morbid curiosity, I dunno. But I'll still never buy THE HAPPENING.

General thoughts on THE VILLAGE?

05 September 2011

MMAM - Vol. 43

Saw HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 again over the weekend, figuring it would be my last time to see a HARRY POTTER flick on the big screen basically ever. Fifth or sixth time seeing it, not sure, but still bloody amazing. To celebrate the POTTER franchise, here are two tracks from the DEATHLY HALLOWS soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat that cannot be missed.

"Courtyard Apocalypse" is nothing short of brilliant. It invokes the tragic, seemingly helpless and dire mood of the Hogwarts battle, and when complimented by the visuals of our trio running around fighting miscellanious Death Eaters...well, it makes my skin chill. Amazingness.

"Showdown" isn't nearly as OMG THIS IS SO AWESOME!!!, but the last two minutes as Harry and Voldemort fight and then fly over Hogwarts castle is pretty brilliant. Nicely solidifies the intimate nature of the Tom Riddle/Harry Potter punch and slapfest, but also makes not of the epic good versus not-good overtone of the whole affair.

Not the best soundtrack of the franchise, but Desplat did great. I still wonder what John Williams would have done with this final piece. And if anyone is painstakingly waiting for a DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 review, I'm holding off until the DVD/Blu-Ray release. That flick deserves to be dissected and given proper time to compose a thorough, critical, yet loving review. So until then, continue to contribute to its billion dollar grossingness. Or send that money my way to help pay for tuition. Either is great. Enjoy!