Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 11/27/12

Men in Black 3: The first Men in Black film is a pretty underrated treasure. I think it sort of came out of nowhere when it was released - and pretty much supplanted Will Smith as an A-list movie star. The second film was not as great as the first, but was still enjoyable. I have seen (and own) the first two films, so of course I will be checking out the third.

Lawless: May be the last chance we get to check out Shia LaBeouf in a non-independent film. At least for a little while until he gets bored. Anyway, the cast alone has me intrigued and the film itself actually looks pretty decent, so yes I will watch this one.

Step Up Revolution: Never. Not once have I seen - even a glimpse - of any of these films. Not going to start now.

Apparition: So we have the girl from Twilight (Ashley Greene) and Draco from Harry Potter (Tom Felton) in a horror film together. Honestly, I would rather watch Twilight.

The Day: According to the film's synopsis, this film is in a post apocalyptic setting. A group of people find a farmhouse to hold up and soon find themselves fighting for their lives. Looks like a ton of people I know from past films, but not sure if I will check this one out or not.

Sparkle: The wife was interested in seeing this, so it will be here at some point. Not sure if it is one I will be checking out with her or not though.

Paranorman: One of the many Halloweenie-type kid's films that has been out lately (along with Hotel Transylvania and Frankenweenie). Probably give it a look, perhaps something the son will like. Plus, Anna Kendrick lends her voice to it - I should definitely lend my support.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

HOT: Ladykillers

I watched this movie a long time ago, when it first came out on DVD and I absolutely despised it - at least I think I did. But, either way I must not have enjoyed it - because this is the first time I tossed it in since that day.

Tom Hanks stars as Professor G.H. Dorr in The Ladyillers, which is based on a film and book from the 1950s.

Dorr finds a house in the south owned by Marva Munson (Irma P. Hall), who has lost her husband and spends most of her time talking to her dead husband's photo, knitting, going to church and complaining to the local sheriffs about anything and everything.

Dorr is looking for a room to rent while on sabbatical, and finds Munson's house with a sign in the window with a room available.

Dorr uses his charm and intellect to get in good with Munson and lies to her about his intentions on his sabbatical - to practice with his band in her root cellar. While his true intentions are to use her cellar as a way to tunnel into a nearby underground vault.

Four others are part of Dorr's 'band', Gawain MacSam (Marlon Wayans), Garth Pancake (J.K. Simmons), The General (Tzi Ma) and Lump Hudson (Ryan Hurst).

MacSam is the inside man. He works on the casino boat in which the vault is fed. Pancake is the explosives 'expert' with I.B.S. The General runs the show, while Lump is the muscle - pure dumb muscle.

Usually I like ensemble casts coming together for a heist, but something must have really turned me off the first time I watched this. A lot of that may have come from Hanks' character. He just didn't seem to fit into this era - he was Col. Sanders mixed with William Shakespeare and, despite being in the south, just felt like he was out place.

After rewatching it, I may have liked it a little more. Still not much for Hanks' character - who was still out of place, but of course he still rocked it - but I enjoyed the other cast members. Simmons was great and I liked The General as well. Wayans was of course a bit over the top - and I have liked Hurst since Remember the Titans, and he played dumb pretty well here.

Not an amazing film, but better than I originally thought. Could have been a whole lot better though, in my opinion. One of the bottom-tiered Hanks films.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 11/20/12

Pretty slow week in terms of releases, just one major one that I could find.

Expendables 2: I was pretty excited to see the first film in this franchise. And, it was decent - but I haven't even thought of tossing it again to rewatch it. Maybe I should - because I am even more excited to check this one out. I am sure the inclusion of Van Damme and Norris, not to mention the expanded roles of Willis and Schwarzenegger, may have something to do with that. So, definitely looking forward to checking this one out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

HOT: Polar Express

So, my Hanks-O-Thon hit a bit of a snag when this movie popped up. I love watching Christmas films, but even I couldn't fathom watching a Christmas movie before Halloween. So, there it sat for a good couple of months.

Well, it is still probably too early, but today I decided to toss in Polar Express. The movie is based on the children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. Which is interesting because the book itself is actually very short. But, they were able turn the short book into a 100 minute film - and it pretty much worked.

Tom Hanks plays, well, he plays pretty much everyone. In fact, I just discovered that he actually played the young child in the movie - whose name is actually never said, but is called Hero Boy. This was a surprise to me, because in all of the other voices (Santa Claus, Father, Conductor and the Hobo) you can actually hear Hanks' voice.

Anyway, Hero Boy is getting to that age where he is just not sure that Santa Claus is real anymore and the magic of Christmas may have slowly started to fade away. Well, Christmas Eve night a train pulls up in front of his house and offers to take him to the North Pole. At first he hesitates, but curiosity gets the best of him and he decides to jump on board.

The ride to the North Pole is pretty wondrous, full of singing, dancing and hot chocolate. But, as Hero Girl (Nona Gaye) forgets her ticket and Hero Boy tries to return it - he drops it. And the adventure begins as he tries to get her ticket and return it to her. Also where he meets the mysterious Hobo on top of the train.

As he gets to the North Pole with the rest of the kids, he joins Hero Girl and Billy (Peter Scolari) in getting stuck inside the elves' workshop - and eventually getting trapped inside the bag of presents.

But, as Santa presents himself - it is Hero Boy who is selected to receive the first present. At first he was unable to hear the jingle of the bells, but as he begins to believe again he is able to hear the marvelous noise.

Not a bad rewrite/extension of an outstanding children's book. To extend the source material to full-length feature was a great accomplishment.

My only knock on the film is how it looks. I just do not like the look of this animation - and to know how far we have come just makes it look even worse. Which is too bad because the film itself is actually pretty good - and excellent for a Christmas movie.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 11/13/12

Brave: Did you think I wouldn't rush out and check out a Pixar film in the theater? Here is my review from back then. Definitely looking forward to checking it out again. I really liked what was the first Pixar film to feature a female lead. It looked amazing, as always, and I thought the heart and humor remained top-notch as well.

Savages: Taylor Kitsch had himself a difficult summer. I don't think he originally thought when he had three major blockbusters coming out in the same summer that it would go like it did. Savages was the third of the three to be released - after John Carter and Battleship - and it actually made some money during its release (not much, but it did). I also think it was the movie I wanted to check out the most - though I will eventually check out Battleship as well (not sure I will John Carter).

The Watch: Well, this movie had its ups and downs when it was being released. Originally entitled Neighborhood Watch the film's marketing took a huge hit during the Trayvon Martin case, and it was forced to change. Basically it was just horrific timing for the movie to be coming out and I am sure it not only hurt its box office take, but possibly swayed some reviews as well. I plan on giving it a look.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Theater Review: Wreck-It Ralph

I don't think I would call myself a 'gamer', but I do enjoy playing video games from time-to-time. I have always thought 'wouldn't it be cool to play as the bad guy?'. Well, apparently the bad guys also feel that they have a lot more to offer as well.

Some time in the 1980s a video game called 'Fix-It Felix, Jr.' hit the arcade floors. The concept of the game was pretty simple: Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) likes to wreck things and selects an apartment building filled with tenants to destroy. Along comes Fix-It Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer) and his golden hammer to fix everything that Ralph has destroyed - and the tenants love Felix so much he gets a medal and a pie.

'Fix-It Felix, Jr.' somehow managed to stay in the arcade for over 30 years while other games of its generation broke down or lost its popularity - this game stayed in its spot, and although not played as much as it once was, still served its purpose.

In the same vein as Toy Story, where the toys were at the mercy of the children while they were played with but came alive when the children were gone, video game characters were at the mercy of the gamers while the arcade was open. But, once the arcade was closed the characters could leave their game and journey to other games, or a hub (the power strip) where a lot of characters would mingle. It was also a place for characters to live once their games were unplugged.

On the day of the games 30th anniversary, Ralph had finally had enough of being an important part of the game, but not getting any respect from Felix or the tenants of the building. He attended a support group for video game villains - who only told him not to go Turbo (who was apparently a character from a racing game who jumped to other games and caused not only his game, but other games to be unplugged).

Ralph had no plans to go Turbo, but once he returned to his game and found that Felix and the tenants were having an anniversary party without him - he crashed the party only to find out that he would never be welcome because he could never win a medal on his own.

With that in mind, he left his game and found a game in the arcade called 'Hero's Duty' where if he were to climb the tower he would be rewarded a medal and finally gain the respect he wanted. Leading the way in this game was Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch). Once the arcade was open and Felix realized Ralph was missing, he took off to look for him - leaving the game unattended and it was given the dreaded 'Out of Order' sign.

Ralph was able to climb to the top of the tower and was awarded a medal, but he also awoke a Cy-Bug that stuck to his face as the two fell into an escape pod that was launched into the game 'Sugar Rush'. With a Cy-Bug and Ralph now missing, Felix and Calhoun join forces to find them both.

Now in Sugar Rush, Ralph stumbles upon Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) who ends up using Ralph's medal to enter the Sugar Rush race - in order to get it back, Ralph helps Vanellope create a car so she can win the race and also win all of the coins, which included his medal.

Pretty big recap, and I didn't even touch on anything that was majorly important - just really the setup of the actual movie.

I felt this movie was amazing. Really ranks up there with some of the Pixar films, which is saying a lot, especially coming from me who feels Pixar can almost do no wrong and is the superior in animation films. This movie had a great story and a ton of heart, which Pixar is so great at doing.

The animation in the film, however, may have been its crowning achievement. I loved so very much how each video game character looked so different and their movements were just like in a video game. The tenants in the apartment building are the best example to this - just fun to watch them. Plus, how characters like Felix and Ralph looked great, but they were a bit different looking than Calhoun, who came from a brand new game with all of the bells and whistles.

Another great thing in this movie is the layers upon layers of video game nostalgia. Sure there were a ton of things created just for this movie, but there were also a ton of cameos of characters from other video games, and other various things throughout the film that either mentioned or showed something from other video games. It was fun to do, but I am looking forward to seeing it again (probably on DVD) so I can really check them out.

A great movie - and now I am also hoping they make a Sugar Rush video game (if they haven't already). It may look like a girl's game, but man did it look like it would be fun to play.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 11/6/12

The Amazing Spider-Man: I was torn on going to see this film, but I found a free night and had a chance to go. I reviewed it here. I think this could be a really decent film franchise again - as long as they do not continue to repeat the same story lines from the Tobey Maguire franchise.

Arthur Christmas: Christmas (or holiday) films seem to be the only movies nowadays that if you miss them in the theater during their initial runs, then you have to wait a whole year to see them on DVD. Most movies in the past had this same approach, but now a few months after they leave the theater we are getting DVDs. I wanted to take my son to see this, but never got a chance. So, we will check it out when it gets here.

Fire With Fire: I cannot believe a movie with this many stars in it is being released directly to DVD. I have to believe that it would have made at least some money if it were released in the theater. I am not sure if I will check it out - but it doesn't look any worse than any other generic action flick. So, maybe.

Your Sister's Sister: I have really started to enjoy Mark Duplass a lot more, especially with his performance on F/X's The League, so I am intrigued by this one. Plus I have begun to enjoy Emily Blunt as well - so the two together I will need to check out.