Month: March 2014

Perfect Transition

Immediate thoughts after The Walking Dead season 4 finale.

 

 

The show and the comic are different entities but I like how they cross over splendidly from time to time.  This was a great merger and re-enactment of a classic scene from the comic. Great season finale.  I would like to point out that I called it two weeks ago. Bad things are in store for the people of “Terminus” come the season 5 premier.

While I have your attention check out some of our other stuff.

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Memento

Year: 2000
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan (screenplay) Jonathan Nolan (Short Story)

RYAN’S REVIEW

Some movies challenge us as viewers.  They demand more from us than the typical film and we are required to give a higher level of our concentration to them.  This isn’t something the casual film-goer will always do but for those of us that do the reward is ever more fulfilling. Some of the most entertaining films are the ones that require us to think more.   This is one of those movies; a film on a platform all by itself and unlike any other out there.  On every level it is entertaining from the story, to the performances, to the cinematography.  This was an intelligent group of people boldly doing their own thing and proving themselves to be a new generation of filmmakers with the potential to take everything to the next level.

Of course everybody knows Christopher Nolan now.  His Batman films were incredible and left an impression on nearly everyone who saw them.  Nolan is certainly one of the most talented filmmakers out there right now and he proves that each and every time he gets behind camera. He proved it with The Prestige, with Inception, and he will most certainly blow our minds again with his next film Interstellar.  This film was his second but it was his first step into doing larger things.  Something that I think makes him so successful is that he has his own team that he works with together on everything.  Looking at the credits roll for this movie I see lots of names I recognize from his other films.  This was back in 2000 and so many of these people have stayed together to work on all of Nolan’s films.  Of course there are his wife and his brother who are always with him.  Emma Thomas serving as producer and Jonathan Nolan involved in writing. Other names that popped out were Wally Pfister and John Papsidera who have both worked on most if not all of Nolan’s movies since.  Though he wasn’t involved in this film Nolan typically uses Hans Zimmer to score his films.  There are no doubt plenty of names I don’t notice because I only see these in passing. In truth I know little about these people beyond their names and job title but that’s not the point.  My whole point is that continuity among the crew goes a long way in a director’s successful career. Nolan’s talent is immense and it’s such an exciting time to be a film fan specifically because of what men like him give us to look forward to.

This film is so unique, even for Nolan.  I love how progressive and gutsy it all is.  Nolan is such a confident filmmaker and that confidence can be seen in his work.  You have to believe in what you are doing to do something this different.  Nolan is a fearless filmmaker and has been wise in believing in himself.  The way this film comes together as it progresses is like a work of magic.  It has so many layers and is so exceptional on each and every one.  The story in this movie is terrific as is the story within the story.  The character they created in Leonard is so interesting and his handicap offers such a fascinating dynamic. I love how the film comes full circle with such clarity in the end and how splendidly the two stories merge into something bigger and even more shocking. This is a great thriller and unlike any other I have ever seen.  A great film from a great director who has so much more to offer us in the future.

I am not a fan of Guy Pearce but he is so perfect for the part in this movie.  I have always said his best attribute is walking around with a lost look on his face.  I think it was The Time Machine that gave me this impression of him as an actor.  It’s what I have come to associate him with over the years and I think it’s great to see it so effectively used for a role like this.  He looks a little ridiculous with that hairdo but the lost look on his face just fits so well.  I don’t like Carrie-Anne Moss either but actually think this was one of the better performances I have seen from her. She plays a great part and pulls it off well.  Joe Pantoliano is awesome in everything and no different in this one. He’s at his best when playing the shady character and he’s in his element in this one.  The role was small but I think Mark Boone Junior is great.  He has made plenty of roles his own but as an actor I always want more of him because he has a talent you can never have enough of.

I can gush over this movie to no end but it’s the type of movie you have to see for yourself.  It took me a long time to get around to seeing this one.  For reasons I can’t remember I snubbed it when people tried to tell me it was great back in the early 2000s.  It was sometime after the success Nolan found with the Batman franchise that I finally went back and saw what I was missing.  I had missed out on something exceptional and if you have never seen this movie you have too.  It’s worth your time to go out of your way to find it and watch it.  In fact everything Nolan and his crew have done is worth your time to seek out and watch.  He has a new film coming out later this year, Interstellar, and I have every reason to think it will be another mind blowing feature from the director who has quickly become the best at blowing our minds.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie was incredibly intricate. Every detail was so well thought through. What kind of brain can create something like this? I have to be honest. I have seen this film before, but it’s been a while. I ran a 5k the day we watched this, so I passed out half way through. Ryan filled me in and my brain is still trying to piece all the pieces together. I really like this movie and it is well worth your time to watch it.

mementoWhen I first looked at this poster, I wasn’t that impressed, but now looking at it a little closer, I don’t think it’s that bad. It shows a few characters and includes a few necessary props that are throughout the movie. The typography of the text is a written font to mimic the handwriting that goes onto the Polaroids the main character has to take to remember things, and although it maybe clever I find it too obvious and cliché. I think there are a lot of better ways to do this poster, but this isn’t the worst way either. I really just want more out of it, because there is so much depth to the movie itself, and this really isn’t beckoning me to go watch the film.

NEXT MOVIE: Me, Myself & Irene (2000)

The Passion of the Sandra

GRAVITY (2013)

We found ourselves with some extra time this week and rented this film to see what all the fuss was about.  While it was without doubt very visually stunning I found myself thinking about it in correlation with The Passion of the Christ.  Only for the mere fact that aside from all the dazzling effects the movie more or less amounted to an hour and a half of Sandra Bullock suffering.  Anything that could go wrong did go wrong for this woman and by the end of the film when she nearly drowns I felt like it was simply overkill.

Now I don’t want to take anything away from Sandra Bullock’s performance. She was incredible and deserved all the praise she received.  I am not a fan but admire how much she has been able to accomplish in the last several years as an actress.  In this film the weight was put squarely on her shoulders and she stood up to the challenge to carry it.  She looks incredible for her age too.  A woman approaching 50 has no business looking as fit as she does but power to her, it’s impressive.

I enjoyed this movie but don’t intend to watch it again.  When it was over I felt regret for not taking the time to go see it in the theater. The experience in 3D or IMAX must have really been something to talk about, and I know plenty was lost in our effort to simply watch it on our television.  Nevertheless there was still plenty to appreciate and marvel at on-screen.  When she gets thrown off into space I felt like my every muscle in my body clinched and I can’t remember that happening to me in any other film for the longest time.  I see it as an incredible accomplishment and what they were able to accomplish was quite extensive.  The experience you might have had watching this film in the theater can’t be replicated but there is still plenty to get out of watching it at home.  I thought the going got a bit too tough for Sandra Bullock as the movie wore on but her performance and the effects can easily make this film worth your time.

They’re Just Going To Eat You At Terminus

The Walking Dead Season 4

Just a complete shot in the dark, although one from an avid reader of the comics.  The name terminus sounds too much like foreshadowing to me. It eerily sounds like “terminal,” as in when you arrive you die.  I have heard in passing recently that “The Hunters” are going to be brought into the show.  I remember these guys and know what they are up to.  The Hunters are cannibals, a threat not all that different from the zombies really.  They’re not dead, but they will still eat you.  They even allude to having eat their own children during a specifically villainous monologue.  My guess is that these signs were all set up in order to lead prey to the hunting ground.

The story line with Lizzy is specifically disturbing but it is right in line from the comic book.  Albeit with different characters.  There are two twin boys in the comic adopted by Andrea and Dale, who are both dead in the show now incidentally.  One kills the other in the same fashion that Lizzy kills the other girl.  In the comic Carl takes it upon himself to kill the boy when everyone else is sleeping.  It is a scene in the early stages of Carl becoming the greatest character ever, super badass all the way.  Obviously Carol takes on the role of the badass in this scenario on the show.  Yes it is an awful thing to do but you can’t live with a person who doesn’t respect life and might kill you in your sleep just to prove a point. In the comic Carol and Tyrese have a relationship, I have mentioned this before in passing as it is a possibility to happen on the show.

I want to note that when looking up Terminus to make sure I spelled it correctly I saw that it’s a term that actually has something to do with God and may have come from the Bible.  I don’t know the implications of this but still stand by my shot in the dark.  I think these signs are simply leading the desperate into the hunting grounds.

Meet Joe Black

Year: 1998
Directed By: Martin Brest
Written By: Eight different people are credited with writing, which makes sense given the movie makes so little.

RYAN’S REVIEW

Let me start this review by being brutally honest.  We didn’t finish this one; in fact we barely made it half way through before deciding we couldn’t take another minute of it.  I’m going to blame Maverick. We gave that film the full viewing and felt our time was completely wasted so when this one started wearing thin we threw in the towel early.  It’s an interesting story that offers plenty to think about and appreciate but I don’t think it transitioned into a good film.  This film is UNBEARABLY long, and on top of that the portrayals are all wrong.  Brad Pitt portrays Death like a child in the world for the first time, Anthony Hopkins is just going through the motions, and I thought the best performance came from Jeffrey Tambor, doing his best Dr. Phil impression.

There are things I like about Brad Pitt’s performance in this movie but too much I don’t like.  I am a fan of Pitt but in this movie he looks too boyish and ridiculously good looking.  What? Death couldn’t pick a more realistically looking person with 7 billion people to choose from? Did he really need chiseled features and highlights in his hair?  Good thing he didn’t pick the cab driver that hit Brad Pitt in the beginning.  Hopkins cohorts would have been perplexed in completely different ways and Death probably wouldn’t have been able to bang the daughter.  Now, about Pitt’s portrayal, this in truth is probably how the character was written.  Why is he so childish? I get the peanut butter thing but beyond that I am scratching my head.  Wouldn’t Death, who has been walking the Earth since the beginning of time, be more familiar with the nuances of the people he takes on a daily basis? It’s implied that Death knows all dialects easily but he doesn’t know any of the little things about everyday life?  We found it all too ridiculous to dedicate any more of our weekend night to.

Anthony Hopkins is terrific in everything; the man just beams power and dignity even when he isn’t doing anything exceptional.  Maybe that’s part of having been knighted I don’t know.  In this movie I really feel like he is just going through the motions and cashing an easy paycheck.  He plays a man who knows his time is up and he is struggling with that realization quietly with little dialogue.  So much of what I saw from him was simply that look of being lost on his face. However, the man did a damn good job with it despite whether it called for heavy acting or not.  Back in the 90’s Anthony Hopkins could easily hold our attention for lengthy films and we would have watched more if it was there.  Times have changed, and looking at this film now the power of Hopkins wasn’t enough to keep me interested for an outrageous running time of two hours and fifty eight minutes.

I am a huge fan of Jeffrey Tambor, specifically because he is awesome in everything.  He can play the serious part and then turn around and be the funniest person on screen in his next part.  Tambor will never be the leading man, but as a supporting actor you can’t do any better no matter what the role calls for.  In this film, I literally had to look him up to make sure it was him playing the part and not Phil McGraw. Look at this side by side and tell me if I am wrong:

meet-joe-black-280.jpg        

In fact, looking at it myself now….can you even tell me which is which? Where these guys separated at birth or was the button to make this human design punched twice by accident in the whole larger scheme of creation? (I know that last analogy is a little odd, excuse me I’ve been reading Brave New World). Despite the obvious lookalike problem I have still loved Tambor in everything, and he is just as good in this film as he is in all the others.  I think he brings a great personality to an otherwise dull film and if I remember correctly his character is rewarded in the end as the heir to the empire.

I don’t see the need to discuss this film any further as we can’t honestly review having not finished it.  If you have your own thoughts about this film and I have horribly offended you then by all means leave a comment and make your case for it.  If I gave up too soon and made a horrible mistake I would be the first to admit it.  It would only take the easiest of suggestions from someone with the opposite opinion but absent that there is no way I’m giving this film another hour and a half of my time.  Having said all that I can’t recommend it to you, but I would really appreciate the thoughts of anyone who wants to speak up for the movie.

Maverick

Year: 1994
Directed By: Richard Donner
Written By: Roy Huggins (TV series the movie was based on) William Goldman (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

When I sat down to watch this movie for review I already had many thoughts about what I would write.  Things along the lines of “really fun movie but not to be taken seriously” or something like that.  However having finished it now I find myself wondering why we ever owned this movie to begin with.  Yes it’s a fun movie to a degree but more of a product of its time than anything else.  I don’t think this movie really has any lasting power and on top of that it is about 30-45 minutes way too long.  This movie is light-hearted and fun but jumps between something silly and something serious far too often.  I found the experience of watching it again to be painfully boring at times and I doubt I’ll watch the movie again for a long, long time, if ever at all.

It probably comes as a surprise to any younger person out there but there was a time when Mel Gibson was the darling actor of this country.  In the 1990s, and for a while after, the man could seemingly do no wrong. America has always loved Australian actors and before the days of Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and the like Mel Gibson was that guy.  He had inspired us all with his “brave heart,” stole the heart of our famous Native American with his voice (despite how wrought with inaccuracy that Disney film was), and he….”knew what women wanted.” In truth, his popularity at the time is specifically why we own this movie and why I enjoyed it so much when it came out.  The mere fact that this movie was so successful is specifically because everyone loved Mel Gibson.  The movie brought in over 100 million in the US box office and that was nothing to sneeze at in 1994.  That’s crazy, trust me.  You might remember this movie fondly, just as I did, but this is no longer the era of “Mel Gibson is the greatest” and it really isn’t that good of a movie.  It’s cool to see Mel Gibson and Richard Donner reunite for something fun and the moment between Gibson and Danny Glover during the bank robbery is quite funny.  However that doesn’t make it a good film and as much as I liked this movie when it came out I still found it unbearable to watch this time around.

This film is specifically one of my favorite roles from Jodie Foster.  Foster has had a terrific career and has made many notable films but in this film I just thought she was smoking hot as the southern belle. I am not saying this is her best movie, it does not even come close.  Speaking in purely acting terms this movie isn’t even on the list of her best parts, but I just thought she was so good-looking in this movie.  To think that she made this film the same year she made Nell is crazy because the exact opposite can be said about how she looked in that film.  I am not really a Jodie Foster fan but she is such a fascinating person.  She recently officially came out as a lesbian and I think I may have been the only person surprised by that news because everybody else seemed to already know.  When I think of Jodie Foster I always instinctively think of John Hinckley Jr.  How insane it must have been to be her after that man shot the President.  For those who don’t know Hinckley was a crazy man who was in love with Jodie Foster and for some reason thought shooting Ronald Reagan would gain him the attention he wanted from her.  Seriously crazy guy that she had absolutely nothing to do with but still that realization must have affected her in some way or another.

The coolest thing about this movie, aside from the moment between Gibson and Glover, is that James Garner was cast in a significant part.  The film was based on the television show by the same name from the late 50s in which Garner starred as Bret Maverick.  I have never seen an episode of the show and don’t know how it correlates with the movie but having the original star involved gives it a certain level of credibility.  Beyond that I think there is little to say about this film.  It’s way too long at 2 hours and seven minutes.  After the big card game the film specifically drags out too far in an effort to set up a sequel that ultimately never happened.  As I said in my intro the tone of this film is all wrong as well.  It seems lighthearted and silly throughout most of the film but occasionally people are killed and it gets real.  It’s always confusing to “get real” during this type of film and I think it sullies the whole thing.  Granted it is only the bad guy and his associates that are killed but still, you can’t be silly when you are killing people even if they are the bad guys.

Having said all of that I don’t think this movie is worth your time and I wouldn’t bother seeing it if I were you.  It can be fun with all the card playing and the parts that are humorous but it’s not worth the time it takes to watch it.  This movie could have been cut by at least 45 minutes and been better.  It was all good in the Mel Gibson hey day but that day is over and now it has little to offer.  It does not even belong in our collection and I only took the time to actually review it because otherwise the time I spent watching it again would have been a complete waste.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I was not interested in this movie. I didn’t even know we owned it. Mel Gibson is not my favorite nor Ryan’s so I still don’t really get why we own this movie. I paid attention, somewhat to the movie, but I didn’t really like the plot, or the actors roles in the movie. Having said that, I really didn’t pay that close attention to it, so what I say isn’t really fair. It had a hard time capturing and keeping my attention.

maverick

There is just so much going on this poster. It has no focal point whatsoever. There is a background that fades into the skyline of the mountains? The are posed like they are in a photo featured on awkward family photos. They too are faded at the bottom into a mountain scene. There is nothing really good about the typography of the title. I don’t even want to give this one any more time. The poster does for me about what the movie does and that’s not much.

NEXT MOVIE: Meet Joe Black (1998)

The Matrix Revolutions

Year: 2003
Directed By: The Wachowski Brothers
Written By: The Wachowski Brothers

RYAN’S REVIEW

I will never forget watching this movie in the theater when it first came out.  As I mentioned in our last review I was stubbornly refusing to read the writing on the wall and I believed completely that this movie would fulfill all my wildest expectations.  I specifically remember when Amber and I were sitting in the theater on opening night and it was packed out.  We were in college in a college town watching the film in an auditorium full of college students.  Ten minutes into the film some guy stood up and walked down the aisle toward the emergency exit.  He turned before leaving and loudly said “it’s only been ten minutes and this movie already blows!” before promptly walking out a door he could not come back through.  I remember looking at Amber and whispering “hater.” Two hours later I found myself wishing I could find that guy and thanking him for at least trying to warn us.  We should have followed that guy.  I can honestly say that it would have been better not knowing how this story ended than actually suffering through it and carrying that disappointment home with me.

When we watched this movie for this review I actually think it was the first time I had ever watched it again. The disappointment the first viewing left me with was a scar that didn’t heal.  It’s taken eleven years but after finally watching this movie again I can see how the Wachowskis thought they were doing the right thing.  In all truth the battle with the machines is kind of cool it’s just all so wrong.  So unforgivably wrong.  It doesn’t matter if the battle was cool or not because this wasn’t what we wanted.  This conclusion sucked, and it was so unbearably long.  I will never forget when we were in the theater Amber turning to me during Trinity’s death scene and saying “why won’t she die already?” Everybody in this movie had to take forever to tell what they were feeling or what they “believed.” As if their belief mattered in the situation at hand.  This is such a stupid movie and the only thing I can think of that was more disappointing was X-Men The Last Stand.

While The Matrix Reloaded was also very disappointing it at least had scenes that made the whole thing worth wild.  There is none of that in this one.  The battle with the machines just doesn’t hit the spot and the final fight between Neo and Agent Smith was the weakest of the three. The Wachowskis blew it, and while Cloud Atlas has finally got me to give them attention again they have spent over ten years shrouded in the failure of this film. I wouldn’t waste my time watching it if I were you.  It would be both a waste and a disappointment.  If you find yourself journeying through this trilogy for the first time then stop before watching this.  It is literally better to not know.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I think Ryan summed it up for him and me both.

the-matrix-revolutions-4 I thought at the time that this poster was very well done. I think I still hold true to that. I think it does the job of getting people interested. The Matrix itself was just such a hit and interesting concept that people got really into this franchise. I think this poster helped fuel how many people went to the theater and saw this movie. “Why are there so many of them?” As I said in the previous post, this movie was built around all green. I think it was one of the first times I remember seeing everything turned green, the production house logos and everything. The binary code was in green and pretty much structured how everything else in this movie looks like. The typography stayed the same. Too bad the movie sucked, the poster really isn’t all that bad. Of course, I don’t have to look at Trinity and Keanu together, so that’s a plus.

NEXT MOVIE: Maverick (1994)