Continued from yesterday…
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
During one weekend in November, my brother invited his entire lot of college friends over to the house to celebrate his birthday over an entire weekend. On one of the nights, we ordered Scott Pilgrim using OnDemand. I was eager to see it because of everything all of you had said about it, but I was ultimately not all that impressed by it. It didn't manage to entertain me and I thought it was very bizarre. I ended up spending more time looking down at websites on my laptop screen than up at the TV screen by the end.
Then Thanksgiving weekend came around and that's when I bought and downloaded Castle Crashers and the Scott Pilgrim game. Sure, the game is quirky, but it's undeniably fun with at least one other person and the soundtrack by Anamanaguchi is awesome. My opinion of Scott Pilgrim changed from "not really my thing at all" to "the movie was meh, but the game is great".
Dom asked for and received a DVD copy of the movie for Christmas and on one of the days in between Christmas and New Year's, we decided to watch it. For whatever reason, I fell in love with it this second time around. The jokes are very funny and I caught so many more of them this time! I'm thinking the game just kinda enlightened me about the kind of universe that Scott Pilgrim revels in.
I've since bought the Blu-ray Collector's Edition.
-------> 4.5 out of 5 quarters for the arcade
How to Train Your Dragon
Besides Scott Pilgrim, Dom had also asked for a copy of this movie. As a family, we decided to watch it some night prior to New Year's. I found it to be absolutely adorable and without flaws, storywise. So often, I'll fall in love with a movie just to have it go completely off-course towards the end (ex: Up). This movie had a good beginning, middle, and end. The film is all about facing yourself and holding true to your moral convictions and your goals in life, despite the fact that everyone around you holds no faith in what you wish to achieve. I really enjoyed it. I loved the animation, I loved the variety of locations, and I liked the diversity and the sheer detail used to characterize the dragon species. That was really neat. I used some Christmas money to buy a Blu-ray copy of this one as well.
-------> 4.5 out of 5 Viking helmets made of female breastplates
Ah, yummy. A movie like The Prestige to thoroughly boggle and blow my mind until my brother and the internet can attempt to explain it all to me. Unfortunately, I was able to understand it completely just from one viewing. It was a good movie, sure, but I was very disappointed that it didn't have the desired effect on me of bewilderment and befuddlement. In this respect, it was an underwhelming movie for me. That's a shame because my brother sure loves the crap out of it and I was really hoping I would, too. I mean, I love The Prestige. That movie still toys with me as I try to catch all the fine details.
-------> 3.5 out of 5 perpetually spinning Totems
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
I don't really even know where to begin with this one. For some inexplicable reason, my brother owns this on DVD and felt like it would serve as quality family entertainment the day before New Year's Eve. When it was over, I turned to him and asked, "okay....so was there a point to all of that? I don't get it." Honestly, WTF??? Tim Curry in lingerie for over an hour and a half, characters randomly breaking into song to sing about who knows what, zero character back story or development, and I still have no idea why the movie is partially named after a character who seems so minor in the whole thing. It was sooooo absurd. Maybe I had to be there in the 70s to get it.
-------> 1 out of 5 Transylvanian transvestites
Every New Year's Day, my extended family goes to see a movie at a theater. This was the selection for 2011; it beat out Narnia, Tangled, and Tron. My parents, Dominick, and I were all for any of those three; after the movie, we still felt we would have been much better off with one of the other three. I think this is the first time I've disagreed and did not enjoy the NYD movie selection.
While I admired the realism, it never really felt like anything was happening. The movie ended abruptly with a sorry excuse for an ending. I left thinking, "that was it?" Even those in my family that generally liked the movie thought that it ended poorly and abruptly. It just...ended, while it felt like things were just getting started.
Bottom line: I didn't like it at all. Maybe I just don't like Westerns. Sure explains why I've steered clear of RDR.
-------> 2.5 out of 5 scruffy marksmen
The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
My family went to see this last weekend. I've seen bits and pieces of the first Narnia movie, and I own Prince Caspian because I loved not just the movie as a whole but the whole idea of "the kids return as kids again after having left after having served out an entire lifetime as kings and queens of the realm and they find the world is in disarray and chaos".
Dawn Treader was enjoyable, but not nearly as good in my opinion as Prince Caspian. It felt lacking; it felt underwhelming by its conclusion. It also felt somewhat generic at times. I mean, I thought Narnia had more cl@ss than naming the central evil entity "the Mist", which dwells on "Dark Island". Really??? Also, things just kinda happened without any real explanation. Looking back on it, with the exception of the first twenty or so minutes, the whole movie felt like a series of disjointed scenes that were cut and pasted together because it seemed like the most logical sequence to put them in.
At least the ending was good.
-------> 3.5 out of 5 not-so-subtle references to Aslan being "Jesus Lion" as my brother calls him
If you want a hip and hysterical movie for a family with teenagers, boys or girls, this is a great one to pick. Emma Stone's character might be a cliche, but she certainly doesn't play Olive like one. She has emotions and feelings. Throughout the movie, I could not stop thinking how perfect a fit Emma Stone was for the role of Olive.
Easy A is not only one of the funniest teen comedies I've seen in recent memory, but I feel it's also one of the most intelligent. It doesn't settle for cheap sex, drunken, or toilet humor. Instead, the audience is treated with clever dialogue, strong characters, and a plot you can actually care about. The humor lies in genuinely funny scenarios, not vulgar gags. The movie never feels like it's running off of stereotypes because it isn't; that's something I really appreciated.
I always knew this was going to be a great movie and one I wanted to see, even before Dom saw it himself and told me I'd like it. I could not stop laughing because Olive reminded me so much of my brother, oddly enough (that doesn't imply that my brother's gone around pretending to have slept with many people...). The movie was refreshing. Who knew? A comedy that's actually funny...and it doesn't even star any so-called comedic actors.
-------> 5 out of 5 embroidered red A's
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Here's a movie that I was interested in seeing when it first came out, but then I didn't have the opportunity to go see it in a theater. Now that I've seen it, I'm glad I didn't. Too many snakes. I would have been freaked the F out. I hate snakes. This movie has snakes jumping out of sand, with their mouths wide open, fangs ready to sink into some human flesh. A snake even gets sliced open at one point. It was just gross.
Besides all the snakes, however, this was a quality action flic. It's probably the finest video game adaptation I've ever seen, and I feel it certainly helped that this one wasn't trying to literally re-enact a game's storyline. I found it to be a tale about three brothers, first and foremost. When the fate of their kingdom suddenly becomes uncertain and potentially consumed in darkness, Jake Gyllenhaal's character must overcome many obstacles in order to right some wrongs. Naturally as the title implies, the Dagger of Time (or whatever it's called) is involved.
Truth be told, if it weren't for the snakes, I probably would have enjoyed this movie a lot more. I liked the dynamic between the brothers. I admired that Jake did most of his own stunts and most of the action didn't involve CGI-based special effects. I liked the time travel. It was sensible and no element of the plot nor special effects was overdone or exaggerated. A good view, if not at most once.
-------> 4 out of 5 stealthy CGI snakes
I've wanted to see this movie for years. I've been told by many many people how good this movie is. Well, I finally got to see it this weekend. I enjoyed it. However, much like what happened with Inception, it proved to be underwhelming for me. It just wasn't as AWESOME as I thought it was going to be. The ending was underwhelming, the amount of action was underwhelming, the number of witty superhero remarks was underwhelming. It didn't live up to my expectations.
I didn't even think I had high expectations.
-------> 3.75 out of 5 shiny miniature arc reactors
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Hmm, this one was just off. I've never seen the first movie and I was never into Transformers as a kid, unless the Zords the Power Rangers called upon count. What inspired me to watch this particular Transformers movie was the premise I saw in a trailer of the guy suddenly being able to read and understand ancient glyphs. Between that and the assured awesome that came with CGI Transformers, I thought I would be in for a really awesome movie.
Well, said movie was practically two and a half hours long. It felt too long. There were some scenes I felt could have been removed. Overall, the special effects were amazing (especially in Blu-ray), but the plot was just...it was very unclear to me who different people were and why things were happening as they were. Remember how I talked about disjointed scenes with Dawn Treader? It was like that again in this movie, though even more so.
At multiple times during the movie, I considered stopping the movie because it just wasn't entertaining me. It was a lot of pretty CGI, but there was no sturdy thread of storyline happening and I didn't care about the characters. In particular, Sam's parents and his girlfriend annoyed me to no end. Every scene his parents were in was just plain cringe-inducing. And there were far too many jokes about testicles. I recall three or four. One is sufficient, if a movie is to have one at all. I mean, c'mon.
Maybe I'm too old to fall into the movie's target audience (24 is old?). Maybe I should have seen the first movie first in order to better appreciate this one. I don't know. I just feel like this movie was such a major disappointment because it could have been so great if it had a stellar, well-told plot to go along with the incredible action and CGI. As video gamers, we know all too well that graphics aren't everything.
Here's hoping the next Transformers movie is much much better.
-------> 3 out of 5 freaky blonde bombshell Decepticon assassins