Archive for the ‘Movie Review’ Category

Lost and Found


Lost and Found (2008/ Dir. Philip Hunt/ Entertainment One and Studio Aka)
Here is the short version of this review: Go buy this, it’s excellent.


World War Z mini-review

Posted: June 21, 2013 in Movie Review
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So we saw World War Z and I actually liked it. I read the book about a year ago (maybe more, hard to tell these days) and I liked that too. I recognize that the movie is not the book though, it’s sort of inspired by the book.

It’s not a bad little zombie movie, but it’s only tangentially based on the book of the same title. That didn’t bother me, because if they really did exactly the book, it would be either an anthology of stories, or a Ken Burns Documentary. Either of those could be interesting, but would fail to catch the summer blockbuster crowd. I did miss the Battle of Yonkers, and some of the more interesting concepts and ideas went the wayside. I think they want a sequel, and if they get one they’ll do some of the later half of the book stuff. It really felt like someone wrote a global zombie movie, then someone pointed out the book existed, and they bought the rights to the book to cover their butts. I say this because some five writers (including Brooks) are credited in the opening titles. It felt like this went through a LOT of re-writes, and the internet says I’m right about that one.

Shall we do bullet points? We’ll try for spoiler free…

Forget the book, this isn’t the book. If you can divorce yourself from the book, you might enjoy it.

The family story didn’t work for me after the first act, but it didn’t hurt things either.

The movie made running zombies interesting to me for the first time.

The suggested solution to the whole zombie thing is… actually pretty interesting.

Oh man, then you sort-of kind-of tried to set up for a sequel, and I’m not sure that’s gonna work babe.

Because of a scheduling issue we saw it in 3D, which is… whatev. Didn’t hurt, didn’t help.

Can I be the only one who heard that speech about Mother Nature being a serial killer and perked up thinking “Oh! So some of what J. Michael Straczynski wrote made it to the screen!” as that speech was unraveling? I can’t say that was for certain his work, but it sounds like him.

Also, alternate title for the movie – “Ain’t Shit Gonna Go Right For Brad Pitt Today.”

Goyokin 1969/ Toho/ Dir. Hideo Gosha

For reasons of my own, I was watching some heist movies. I like a good heist flick, and there aren’t enough of them. There are lots of heist flicks, but only a few good ones. I had gone through the usual line-up of movies, and after I had exhausted my supply I still felt the need to go once more into the heist film vault. So what I did was examine what you need for a good heist movie. That led me to this Japanese samurai movie set in the 1800s. As opposed to a French samurai movie set in the 1460s I guess? Well, some samurai movies are set during the 1600s, that seems to be the two times we generally get. During the early days of the Tokugawa shogunate or just before the Meiji Restoration, which is the end of the Tokugawa shogunate. Soooo, during the Tokugawa shogunate. You know what? Forget this part! I’ve already said shogunate way too many times.

Why do I call this a heist movie and not a samurai movie?

The Black Cauldron (1985/ Disney/ Dir. Ted Berman & Richard Rich)

The Black Cauldron made basically no splash when it came out, much to Disney’s dismay. Also, to the dismay of people like me, who sort of wish Disney had kept up with what it was doing. If you remember, the early 80s were a period of interesting experimentation for Disney. Granted, most those experiments were box office flops, but they were at least interesting and some of them were even good. This is an example of one of those experiments that was actually sort of good. Not great, I didn’t say great, but it is good and it contains things you rarely saw at the time.


I liked Wreck-It Ralph, let’s talk a little.

1. I thought the opening short was too good. I thought it might diminish the feature. It didn’t, but it was an utterly charming little bit of animation.

2. Going to have to buy this on DVD so I can catch all the little jokes and references they threw in.

3. “She has the most tragic backstory of all time.” That line killed.

4. They did their homework. Even if the people who worked on this are all about my age and as such are gamers from when I was gaming, they did their home work. There are a lot of gags, references, and an overall understanding of how video games work here. These guys knew what they were doing.

5. Most the jokes were funny, most the characters were interesting, most the story works really well.

6. Some of the characters move like their video game counter parts would move. They have no middle animation they just go from their hands out, to their hands raised, just like 8-bit.

7. The one human gamer we really see was a girl… BUT GIRLS DON’T GAME! my mind=blown!

Now, below there will be spoilers. (more…)

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944/Warner Bros./Dir. Frank Capra)

A little while ago, I posted a list of movies that you can watch at Halloween that aren’t horror movies. When I posted that, I “missed” one important movie. I put missed in quotes because I didn’t miss it so much as decide that I would rather do a review on it. While not a perfect movie, nor even a perfect comedy, it is enjoyable and it does work as a film. It’s one of m favorite Cary Grant performances, and that is really saying something. And hey, it takes place on Halloween!

Here’s the thing though, the best thing to do would be to go into this movie totally blind. I’m going to spoil some things about this movie, but one of the biggest spoilers is on the back of the box. For best results, don’t read anything and just go watch it. As of right now, it’s on Netflix Streaming (but who knows what tomorrow might bring, right?) so just go watch it. Seriously, don’t even bother reading this review because you should just go see it.


Movie Review: The Adventures of Robin Hood

The Adventures of Robin Hood/1938/ Dir. Michael Curtiz & William Keighley

Oh yes, the tights, we must always go back to the tights! Easy for a man to look tough wearing 35 pounds of rubber and latex armor, but it takes a real man to look badass in tights. Not just tights, but tights and what amounts to a velvet mini-dress. You could call it a shirt, or a jerkin, but if anyone wore it today, we’d call it a mini-dress. We’d also call it pretty hot if a girl wore something that short. Point is, TIGHTS! You’ve got to talk about the tights first thin out of the gate, because otherwise it becomes the elephant in the room. Beyond that, this is a pretty great movie. Yes, the costumes and manners make the Renaissance Festival look like Game of Thrones. Yes, it’s about as historically accurate as a Walt Disney cartoon. Yes, yes, yes I’ll agree to most the criticism… BUT! This is also the single best movie about Robin Hood, and is still the most iconic. There are only a few Robin Hood movies that are any good, and this is the best.


Movie Review: Windtalkers

Windtalkers (2002/ MGM/ Dir. John Woo)

What happened to John Woo when he came to America? He had made some of the best action movies of the 80s and early 90s. Then he came to the US and had a string of near disasters and critical failures. That’s not to say his movies did badly. Mission: Impossible II actually did pretty well in theaters, despite what some smart ass critics thought of it. Face/Off was a big hit in the theaters and on video, as was Broken Arrow. None of them are really good movies though, and most have been rejected by Woo fans. Then this movie came along, which sank like a stone at the box office and heralded the beginning of the end for Woo’s American experiment. Allow me to state now, this is not a good movie. It will not be getting a huge score on the Graffiti Bridge Scale. HOWEVER! It won’t get a negative score, and that’s part of what I want to talk about here.


There are books that are difficult to translate into movies, and there are books that are more easily translated. I’m not exactly sure where Fear and Loathing fits in there, but it was at least fairly accurately translated. Not 100%, several things prevent it from reaching the full and complete accuracy that fans were hoping for. While some of them are choices made by Gilliam, many of them are just rights and budget concerns. However, as an adaptation of the book, it works. As something to get you interested in the greater works of Hunter S. Thompson, it is an excellent device. How does the movie hold up compared to the book? Let’s find out together, shall we?


So we saw The Avengers

– I lost count of the amount of times people stopped using rifles during firefights because Pistols Is Better!

– Every time the characters started fighting, I wanted someone to pick Ryu so that the Marvel Vs Capcom feeling would be complete. Every big scene felt empty and flaccid to me, it had all the impact of watching someone else play a video game.

– Am, I only person who said “Tell me about the lambs” during the big tell me about the lambs scene?

– What military sky boat (a supremely stupid idea in the comics and worse in the movie) would have less failsafe and fall back precautions than a modern airliner?

– Does no one in New York City have any kind of self preservation sense at all? 15 minutes into a full blown alien attack and people are still gaping by windows hoping to get glass shards in the face.

– Those sky serpent things, were they some kind of left over design that Michael Bay decided not to use for the Transformers movies?

– A lot of the lines in this movie make no sense when you think about them. “They’ll come.” “How can you know?” “We’ll need them.” That’s no kind of answer!

– I have a nifty shield! I have a magic hammer! I have super strength! I have a full blow Deus Ex Machina suit! I have a… 9mm pistol… I’m just here for T&A aren’t I?

– So many of the jokes and quips fell flat for me that I started to resent the idea of laughing when one actually amused me. By the time Hulk punched Thor, I just sighed and looked away from the screen.

– And the guy who got Jossed was totally Jossed. That was not story supported, it was a cheap trick performed by a bad writer with no other way to make people care.

– Over all Joss Whedon remains a rather cheap hack with a rather shallow bag of tricks. If you like his bag of tricks, it’s probably fine. I hate his bag of tricks and the movie was chock full of the things I don’t like about his work.

Otherwise it was okay. I didn’t want to kill anyone, I didn’t want to ram chopsticks into my eyes, but Joss Whedon is still a shitty writer and I don’t like his works, but this is the closest I’ve ever come to not hating every minute of it. If we’d been watching at home though, I would have walked out less than halfway through and not finished it.