Thursday, September 11, 2014

5 More Songs I Love

Third Eye Blind - Jumper

Nickel Creek - The Lighthouse's Tale

Petula Clark - This is My Song

Matchbox 20 - Unwell

Mandy Moore - Love to Love Me Back

Saturday, September 6, 2014

10 Songs That I Love

In no particular order...

The Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony

No Doubt - Don't Speak

En Vogue - Don't Let Go

Kelly Clarkson - Low

Patsy Cline - Walkin' After Midnight

Stone Temple Pilots - Sour Girl

Spice Girls - Wannabe

The Flamingos - I Only Have Eyes for You

Ricky Martin - Private Emotion

Carrie Underwood - Wasted

Monday, August 4, 2014

More Reviews

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
I feel that this movie got quite a bit more hate than it deserved.  Not that it is a great movie or anything, but it isn't nearly as bad as many of the reviews implied.  If anything, it is relentlessly average.  The chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone is still a highlight, and the 3-D during the fights is particularly impressive.  However, there is a bit too much going on (we didn't really need three villains, even if one is more of a cameo) and 'just okay' is disappointing when compared to Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 (the latter of which I still consider to be the pinnacle of comic book movies).

Dane DeHaan is proving himself to be a go-to actor for morally ambiguous characters, though this feels like a lesser version of his Chronicle performance.  Jamie Foxx is... there?  Nothing about the character really stood out (other than the nerd makeup, which went overboard to an amazing degree) but he wasn't terrible in any particular way.

The movie is an improvement over The Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 3 (putting it squarely in the middle of the 5), but not a must-see in any way.  6.0 out of 10.

Knights of Badassdom
Here is a movie I absolutely enjoyed while also realizing (while watching it) that it was not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination.  Very much a guilty pleasure, the movie follows 3 friend at a LARPing event where things go horribly, horribly wrong.

What the movie does have going for it is solid performances (particularly from Peter Dinklage and Danny Pudi), surprising developments as far as character deaths go, and a great sense of camaraderie between the actors that really helps the comedy.

The effects could be better (they are obviously low budget) but I found the practical costume effects charming, especially given how out-and-out terrible some fully CGI'd characters have been in other, more expensive movies.  Again, the movie is not going to be overly impressive on any front, but it has charm to spare.  6.5 out of 10.

Lucy
I cannot remember the last time I walked out of a movie this confused about my feelings for it.  As a star turn, Scarlett Johansson more than proves her worth.  As an action movie, it is fun and builds rather well.  The basic premise of the movie?  Kind of ridiculous.  And the plot holes are aplenty, as are the incredibly inconsistent characters.

The basic premise (thanks to some new drug the titular character is forced to smuggle in her stomach - that starts leaking - Lucy gains the ability to use all of her brain's capacity which turns her into an action hero of sorts) is beyond stupid, and only the seriousness of Morgan Freeman's delivery makes it in any way forgiveable.  Once they get moving with the actual action movie this wants to be, things improve, but scattered throughout are images of the 'greater world' that try to add symbolism to a movie that, frankly, isn't intelligent enough to deserve it.

It's not bad, by any means, but this movie is brainless fluff that will likely be forgotten in a few years time.  5.5 out of 10.

Interior.  Leather Bar.
A short film about the recreation of the lost footage of the 1980 film Cruising, this is not a movie for everyone.  In fact, given the graphic (and I do mean graphic) sex scenes throughout the movie, I'd venture to say that a large majority of people have no business watching this odd little film from Travis Mathews and James Franco.

Now, this movie isn't a recreation of the lost footage from Cruising, but it is about the making of the recreation of the lost footage from Cruising.  If that doesn't confuse you, seeing the movie will explain that sentence plainly.  Meant to challenge our preconceptions of a what a movie is (as well as our thoughts and opinions on the nature of sex in film), this film features talks with agents, someone reading a script that is the action being filmed right in that moment, and lots of discussion of sex in film.

Cinephiles will enjoy this (or, at the very least, get what it is going for), but for most this will be a bit too much.  7.0 out of 10.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Occasionally I review movies....

...just not much lately.  Here's a brief rundown of what I have seen this year, and thoughts.

Captain America:  The Winter Soldier
Loved it.  I will be forever glad Fantastic Four tanked so that Chris Evans got to do this instead of being locked into that shitstorm.  Great expansion on the character and on Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, and the addition of Falcon is welcome.  Also didn't see Robert Redford being the de facto villain of the movie, so points for surprising me on that front.  This movie and Godzilla are battling for my favorite of the year.  9.0 out of 10.

(I realize I gave Godzilla an 8.5, but I said they are battling for my favorite.  I do feel that this is a better made movie.)

Noah
I'm still not entirely sure what to make of this movie, although I did enjoy it quite a bit.  Great visuals, and it expands the Noah section of the Bible into a decent movie, even if I didn't quite believe that he would be willing to murder his grandson (he doesn't, if you care).  Russell Crowe gives a solid performance, though I thought the movie's standout was Logan Lerman.  Also, the vegetarian thing was a bit much.  7.5 out of 10.

The Lego Movie
This movie was way better than it had any right to be as a quick cash-grab.  Hilarious voicework, great use of the Lego 'world' and a quick pace make this a very enjoyable animated feature.  Even the brief live action section fits the movie well, and it is hard to criticize something so guilelessly entertaining.  8.0 out of 10.

Oculus
This movie wanted to be good.  It tried really hard.  However, apparently it was decided that 'just okay' was all they really wanted to shoot for, and we are left with a disappointing collection of ideas surrounding a ridiculous premise that almost works.  I had misgivings about a killer mirror movie, but the script here sets up the MacGuffin quite well and plays around with how malleable memory can be, but ultimately disappoints and fails to explore this plotline as fully as it could.  Not only that, but they failed to shore up other issues in the script that ultimately hurt the movie (How does the main character track down the mirror?  Why would the incarcerate a child for 10 years for killing his father when the father had obviously just murdered their mother and tried to murder them?)  The movie ultimately fails, but it is an interesting failure.  5.0 out of 10.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Review: Godzilla

Godzilla
When it comes to a movie I enjoy this much, I don't want to discuss it critically, I just want people to go see it.  This is what some would call a 'Thinking Man's Monster Movie' - not that it gets deep or metaphysical or anything.  The movie is a slow burn:  It doesn't just throw Godzilla into the action, it makes you wait.  You will get story, dammit!

This works beautifully.  The first full shot of Godzilla is one of those Movie Moments -  a magic of the cinema that causes you to sit up in your seat and experience movie nirvana.

Gareth Edwards, pulled from relative obscurity to direct, makes the smart decision to keep the cameras at human levels throughout the film.  While there are some wide shots of Godzilla and his battle with 2 other kaiju, most of it is shot from street level, adding a sense of awe to the sheer size of these creatures.  One hopes he gets to direct a sequel (please let there be a sequel!) since writer David Callahan (with screenplay credit going to Max Borenstein) does a wonderful job of setting up a 'larger world' for the film to take place in - there are people who knew about Godzilla and have researched the possibility of other kaiju .

It's hard to talk about the human characters without spoiling some key (and surprising) developments in the movie, so I will say that everyone did a good job, but several characters (namely, the female ones) get the short shift.  Why cast talent like Elizabeth Olson, Juliette Binoche, and Sally Hawkins if they are primarily supportive female types to their male counterparts?  (though I will say that Hawkins' screen partner Ken Watanabe felt shortshifted also)

The monster effects are well done, and while the 3D showing I watched was pleasant, I don't feel that the 3D added anything extra to the film as a whole.

A definite must-see blockbuster.  8.5 out of 10.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Nightmare Night: Remake 2010


I read that the main reason for this remake was to reimagine Wes Craven's vision using updated technology.  While there are updated effects, it doesn't really add to Craven's original movie whatsoever.

That said, the acting is fairly strong (having the likes of Rooney Mara, Connie Britton, and Jackie Earle Haley will do that), and the film does manage to capture a dark, creepy tone that has been missing since... oh Dream Warriors?

Other than the 'return to scary Freddy,' this movie's existence can't really be justified.  I suppose I should just be thankful Platinum Dunes didn't fuck it up on the same level as Friday the 13th.

Nightmare Night: Part 6: Freddy's Dead


Contrary to the poster's tagline, this was not the best (nor was it the last).

The reason I have never really warmed to this one has mostly to do with how mean-spirited it is.  I realize that is an odd complaint for a slasher flick, but setting a large chunk of this at a shelter for abused children really sets the film at odds with its quippy villain/jokey tone.  Maybe if it had a more serious tone, I'd appreciate it more.

The kills are clever, I suppose, but again, mean spirited since it relies on the fears of abused teenagers.  I always feel slightly dirty after watching it.