Sunday, December 29, 2013

QUICKIES: Some 2013 movies

A group of retired crazy ass killers. Giant monsters and robots. And two movies with basically the same plot, same illogical twists & turns, and a "Jack Bauer/John McClane"-cloned protagonist to save the day.

Either I'm too lazy at the moment, or the movie does not deserve a full review. Here are my straight-to-the-point reviews, QUICKIES if you will, of RED 2, PACIFIC RIM, OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, and WHITE HOUSE DOWN.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Starting my own Christmas tradition: The NeverEnding Story (1984)

A film made even more nostalgic by making us aware of an entirely different era - a time where you can hear the phrase "I like children" without raising any red flags. LOL

When I heard that "I like children" line, then Falkor asking Atreyu to scratch behind his ears and gleefully commenting "Oh that feels goooood!" with the creepy old man voice, I was like O_O seriously? Then I chuckled. Society today has thoroughly messed up my innocence.

For several years now, Christmas for me has lost its magical charm. Call me jaded, or Ms. Scrooge, or better yet just call me an adult - Christmas is just not the same as before. It really is an occasion for kids, and a kid I no longer am. And while everybody were too busy cooking holiday food, eating, opening gifts, singing christmas carols, taking pictures with their christmas trees in the background - I was moping in a corner, trying to read my book, unsuccessfully, while waiting for my movies to download. Yes, t'was the night before Christmas. And several minutes past 12, while there were firecrackers cracking in the neighborhood, "Merry Christmas" greetings resonating all over, and just plain old jolly merrymaking happening around me, I saw that wonderful notification! My movies are finally downloaded. I was a happy elf!

So today, December 25, the moment I woke up I went straight to my couch and started my movie marathon. Christmas is that wonderful feeling of magical mysteries as seen thru the eyes of a child - getting gifts, Santa Claus, everything romanticized - I decide to re-experience that old nostalgic feeling. What better way to do that than watch something from my childhood - that first ever movie I recall watching as a kid (as I've mentioned here). And I'm watching that with my family. My very own Christmas special. And how fitting this movie is. :)

I have ranted, but thank you for humoring me. It's Christmas after all. ;) 

Now, I'm ready to talk about the movie. A special movie that has stayed with me (or at least some parts of it) my whole life. The movie which has opened my eyes and heart, which has affected me in such a way great films are supposed to influence people - it has made me appreciate the world of cinema at such a young age. It sent me into another world, into another story, and I have stayed inside. My own never ending story. 

"A troubled boy dives into a wonderous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book."
Directed by:  Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, Air Force One)
Screenplay by:  Wolfgang Petersen, Herman Weigel
Based on the novel of the same title by Michael Ende
Music by:  Klaus Doldinger (Das Boot)
Cinematography by:  Jost Vacano (Das Boot, RoboCop, Total Recall)
Editing by:  Jane Seitz

Starring:  Noah Hathaway (Atreyu), Barret Oliver (Bastian)
Running Time:  107 mins
Budget:  around $27 million
Box Office:  $100 million

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Man of Steel (2013)

Faster than a speeding bullet, here comes the brooding alien with steel abs! The co-destroyer of everything in sight.

Zack Snyder has got style, that's for sure. But my problem with him is that his movies are all gloss and pretty pictures, but lacking in substance. Maybe it's his trademark, but this is the reason why it's hard for me to warm up to him. Too bad, because I was expecting something that will raise the standards & revitalize the inexplicably humdrum trend of the Superman franchise and I thought the time has come. Not this year. Man of Steel is simply another superhero/blockbuster movie that's high on repetitive explosive action and booming sound effects, but sadly low on any lasting impact. 

Directed by:  Zack Snyder (300, Sucker Punch)
Screenplay by:  David S. Goyer (Blade trilogy, Nolan's Batman trilogy)
Music by:  Hans Zimmer (The Lion King, The Dark Knight)
Cinematography by:  Amir Mokri (Taking Lives, Transformers: Dark of the Moon)
Starring:  Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon
Running Time:  143 mins
Budget:  $225 million
Box Office:  More than $660 million

Monday, December 9, 2013

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)

A truly intense sibling-rivalry thriller that's made more interesting because of the real-life rivalry between Davis & Crawford.

"I didn't bring your breakfast, because you didn't eat your din-din!"  No actress has ever gotten me to hate a character so much and pity her at the same time. No one but Bette Davis. I mean my god that woman is a fascinating actress! To switch from spiteful madness to regression in a blink of an eye - a hateful countenance to child-like mischievousness flowing smoothly like a river of emotions in her grotesque face - is nothing short of brilliant. At some point she made me wish I could go inside the screen just so I can push her down the stairs, and yet in another scene, she had me bawling like a milk-deprived baby, just wanting to hug and comfort poor Baby Jane. She should have won the Oscars for Best Actress that year. Dammit, she should have!

This scene! ugh -_-

Here's a short info about the movie. :)

"A former child star torments her crippled sister in a decaying Hollywood mansion."

Directed by:  Robert Aldrich (Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte)
Screenplay by:  Lukas Heller
Cinematography by:  Ernest Haller (Rebel Without A Cause)

Editing by:  Michael Luciano
Music by:  Frank De Vol (Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte)
Starring:  Bette Davis, Joan Crawford
Running Time:  133 mins
Budget: a little over a million dollars
Box Office:  $9 million

Sunday, December 1, 2013

QUICKIES: A Home Security Salesman, A Rape Victim's Revenge, A Drug Dealer, and An Innovative Jerk

Either I'm too lazy at the moment... or the movie does not deserve a full review. Here are my straight-to-the-point reviews, QUICKIES if you will, of The Purge, I Spit On Your Grave (2010), We're The Millers, and Jobs.

THE PURGE (2013) 

Written & Directed by:  James DeMonaco
Cinematography:  Jacques Jouffret
Starring:  Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Rhys Wakefield
Running Time:  85 mins
Budget: $ 3 million
Box Office: almost $ 90 million (which is why they're making a 2014 sequel)
The idea is fascinating, the potential is huge, but this film is ultimately nothing but a missed opportunity. Murderous yuppies in freaky masks, wielding machetes & all that government-approved crap, wreak havoc in search of a homeless black guy who they deem to be purge-material. The ideas explored are thought-provoking and interesting, but instead, it just became another generic home invasion thriller that may have a few good moments, but that's about it. Overall, it's just another cliched thriller filled with gaping plotholes and eye-rolling scenes or plot devices. Eugenics The Movie. Uh huh. 

And those masks! Ugh. It may have worked in The Strangers, but in here, it just makes me want to suckerpunch the smirk off of their arrogant faces. And what's up with that ugly RC baby doll camera? Surely there's something less conspicuous (and prettier) than that?

I'm curious though, who are the New Founding Fathers of America? ;)

My Rating: 1.5/5 - A movie deserving to be watched for its intelligent ideas, but also deserving of the low ratings because of its failure to express & explore.

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