Sunday, November 28, 2010

Movie Review - Tangled


Staring: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman, MC Gainey,Jeffrey Tambor, Brad Garrett, Paul F Tompkins, Richard Kiel and more.

Premise: Rapunzel has been wanting to see more of the world than just the inside of her tower, specifically the lights she sees flashing in the sky once a year on her birthday. Though her mother has cut derailed her desire, she can't resist once a stranger unexpectedly climbs their tower and makes it inside. This might be her one and only chance to get to see the lights up close. So she takes it.

Review: This movie was a blast! Witty, funny, exciting. And while all the speaking parts were great, the extra fun totally came from the two non-talking characters, Pascal the chameleon and Maximus the horse.

Pascal has great facial expressions and for a non-talking little creature very easily makes his emotions and opinions felt. He's like the 'heavy' in the duo of Rapunzel and her best friend.

Maximus is the ultimate horse! More like a Horse Hound as Max exhibits many traits of hunting dogs (including the urge to scratch with the back leg when someone scratches him behind the ear. Of all of Flynn's many enemies, he's the one to watch out for! lol.

There were several points about the story that surprised me. Loved watching Flynn's scheme to get Rapunzel to give up and go home so he could get what she hid from him faster and also how it totally backfired. Also Rapunzel's reactions when she first made it out of the tower were hilarious and more realistic than I expected.

The whole Mother angle was evil, insidious, and so well done! (Gave me chills, too, but for other reasons, will explain after review)

Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore have a good rapport that comes out clearly in the film. And the animation of both, especially Rapunzel's big green eyes do much for quiet moments.

I think even knowing what you've seen on the previews, you'll be surprised by all that goes on.

Of course, some of the things you may have seen in the previews never made it to the movie. Rapunzel's hair falling to hit Flynn and Maximus laughing his head off. Rapunzel's hair attacking Flynn like fists. (Could be the hair was semi self aware at that stage of development? And they decided to make it more static? Didn't lose by not having/doing it, still, I find previews that are not in the film rather annoying! lol)

Overall, totally worth it! GO see it!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

P.S. Now for why I freaked a little watching this movie. If you've not noticed by this point I'm an author. My book "Willing Sacrifice" is about a young woman raised in isolation, supposedly for her protection (like Rapunzel), being manipulated and told things to keep her in line (like Rapunzel), stubborn to a fault (ditto), who paints to keep occupied (ditto), fascinated by the outside world (more ditto), meets a young man who's interest at first has nothing to do with the girl herself (ditto), she's faced with the realization he might not even see her as a person (oh ditto yeah), one single moment of clarity forces her to see the truth that's been veiled from her all these years. And in many ways 'Mother' resembled my Viscount. Some of their goals totally the same. It was almost like seeing my book on the screen! YES! (Except I have no cool Pascal or Maximus. Heh heh)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Movie Review - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 1

Staring: Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Helena Bohnam Carter, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, and many many more...

Premise: The whole of the magic world has come to see and admit that Lord Voldemort has returned. Terror strikes the land as evil once more covers the world and people start turning up dead, imprisoned, or worse as Voldemort starts putting his stamp on all again. Those left of the Brotherhood of the Phoenix attempt to keep Harry and his friends safe as Voldemort places all his assets into finding him. Harry catches glimpses of a secondary goal of Voldemort's and tries to find out more about it even as he continues to search for more of He Who Shall Not Be Named's horcruxes.

Review: Did try not to get too excited, though I must admit as many people insisted on Friday the movie was fab I couldn't help doing so just a bit. Would have been better if I hadn't.

Beautiful cinematography! There is some truly breathtaking scenery that looked even more amazing in IMAX. Special effects were top notch as usual. The polyjuice scenes with Harry and later all three principals were especially fun.

All three actors are maturing in their craft and it totally shows. Especially for Mr Radcliffe. Which is great since these last two films will have a lot of darkness and emotional scenes.

The biggest problem, for me anyway, was the pacing and some of the bits they hung over. Wherever there were more than the three kids, those scenes flowed fast and furious. Which meant you saw a lot of characters we've come to know over the years, yet only got a glimpse if that much of them. The parting Duddley scene in the book where he finally acknowledges Harry wasn't shown. And I felt this did a great disservice to the books and the things JK Rowling was trying to show in them. It was a major point showing a change on a problem that had been existent since book one -- Duddley maturing and actually making his own conclusions - becoming his own man.

The scenes with just the three of the principals sometimes moved like molasses. They were off and on the run and on their own for months but there's no real feeling of that passage of time. I think if they'd taken thirty seconds to show the tent and little things about it changing/moving or locales flickering past in fast motion and even the characters moving at speeds, it would have done a lot to let the audience see that. (And then given more time to spend on other things! :P)

John Williams did not do the score for this film (I heard there were timing issues) but Alexandre Desplat did quite well. So nothing was lost in that area. Yay!

The three actors acting as polymorphed Harry, Hermione, and Ron at the Ministry were a blast! Especially the one for Harry. His walk and manners were especially a hoot. (That whole section was too much fun!)

The part where we're told the story of the Deathly Hallows was totally fantastic! The animation and dark slant of it was great.

Doby was back! And at least he didn't get belittled and had his proper moments. They changed a little of what was done with Hedwig but it made things more poignant and better in my opinion. so definite kuddos for that.

Ending spot was perfect. Just the right amount of despair as evil takes the upper hand! Bwahahahahahaha

Like I said before, there were some truly great sections to the film. Others, not so much. Worth watching, just not quite where it should have been...

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Movie Review - Skyline


Staring: Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, David Zayas, Donald Faison, Brittany Daniel, Crystal Reed, and more.

Premise: While in LA to celebrate the birthday of a friend, Jarrod and Elaine become witnesses to an alien invasion.

Review: The special effects and imagery for this film were awesome. It had many stunning visual moments. As the principals, Eric Balfour (SyFy's Haven) and Scottie Thompson (Dinozzo's one true love in NCIS) did a great job as did the rest of the cast. On the most part, their reactions were believable for the amazing circumstances they find themselves in.

Where the movie had issues was with the story and presentation of events. First they fell to the cliched 'Let's give the audience a taste then slam them back hours/days before the event'. recently it seems movie and TV peeps don't think the audience has the patience for a story to get started at the beginning. 'Walking Dead' premiered a few weeks ago using the same gimmick. Personally, I think it's a crutch and overused. But that's just me.

The aliens and their odd tech was fascinating. Loved that they sneaked in to take a sampling of humans to test them and see if their nervous systems and brains would work for what they had in mind. The characters have no science backgrounds, so the audience is left to its own devices to figure out why things seem to work as they do. All the hints are visual cues. And for the most part worked great.

The physical changes to humans when they saw the light was also great. Good visual cues too for when Jarrod grew a slight resistance to it. The whole concept of the light worked beautifully for me.

Where they truly seemed to lose it was at the end of the film. Either they should have stopped at the spot it originally seemed to - we can live with the bad guys totally winning every once in a while, right? Or they should have tacked on another ten minutes to the five minutes they added to what felt like the ending spot. (I actually liked where the extra five minutes took us - giving us hope and inside the ship- but they didn't take it far enough.) As it was, the extra minutes made the end awkward. Worse, they did just a little more with figurines during the credits and if you weren't looking at it, you'd miss it. Made it feel like they'd run out of budget or something and just tacked on what they could. Did not do themselves any favors here.

Rating: Acting/Special Effects 4 out of 5. Script/implementation 3 out of 5. As hubby likes to say, probably better on cable. :(

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Movie Review - Megamind


Staring: Will Ferrel, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross, Brad Pitt.

Premise: Megamind, who's grown up since he was a baby believing his destiny is to be an arch nemesis, finds himself at a loss when he finally defeats his enemy, Metro Man. So he sets out to create himself a hero to fight with so his life will have meaning again.

Review: First off, I wish they'd curtailed some of the commercials. They gave away one GIANT plot point which I wish they hadn't. Grrrr. In their attempt to get our attention they kinda blew the deal. I won't tell you what it was in case you haven't seen the particular bit.

Overall it was a very cute film. Megamind is both lovable, pitiable, and a total HAM. There are a ton of Superman in-jokes in this thing. Poking fun at Marlon Brando as Jorel totally cracked me up!

The animation was gorgeous. And some fun 3D treats. Loved Megamind's minions. Too fun! Comparing it to Despicable Me it wasn't as good, but still very entertaining. The music chosen totally ROCKED. Awesome showmanship in a lifestyle that demands flare and presentation. Heh.

Lots of action and movement to keep the kids fascinated. And lots of fun bits for the adults as well.

Rating: 4 out of 5
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