Posts Tagged ‘Film’

catching fire posterBottom Line:

Rent it, buy it, or don’t bother? — Buy it.

Details:

[No spoilers.]

Did anyone expect Catching Fire not to be amazing? Because it was. But it also left me a little overwhelmed. I loved the movie, I truly did, but part of me is still looking for something. Something more? Maybe. Something else? Possibly.

I don’t know what it is, and I can’t explain it. I’m not disappointed, not in the slightest. But I’m hoping to see it again soon. I think that will help me get my thoughts in order.

But no one has time for that now! You guys want to know how the movie was, and I’m here to tell you that it was spectacular.

Cinematically, the movie was beautiful. District 12 was drab and full of sorrow, the Capitol was lively and full of color, the arena was sprawling and dangerous, and the CGI was impeccable. There really are no complaints here.

The acting was, of course, spot on. We have to talk about Jennifer Lawrence’s performance because it stole the show every single time. She’s so great at moving between the truly emotional scenes, whether she’s scared or upset, and the hilarious scenes, of which there are plenty. Her interactions with the other tributes, particularly Johanna and Finnick, are laugh out loud funny. She makes the best faces.

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta really stepped it up in this movie. He’s exactly the Peeta I pictured from the book, and the more I see him, the more I’m convinced Suzanne Collins actually based the character off of the actor. Liam Hemsworth was great as Gale, even considering his limited screen time. Haymitch and Cinna continue to be some of my favorites, and I really thought Effie’s emotional scenes were particularly touching.

The Victory Tour was poignant, and the Games were frightening. I often found myself tensed up in my seat even though I knew exactly what was going to happen. That’s the mark of a great movie.

And speaking of being a great movie, this truly was a fantastic adaptation. I haven’t read the book in a while, but a lot of little details that stuck out in my mind were in the film. There was one particular scene that was missing, but in the end I actually think it may have been an asset for viewers who hadn’t read the books.

The highlights for me were just the beauty and scope of the movie and Jennifer Lawrence’s performance. That ending shot right before the credits roll… Wow. You can see every thought and every emotion on her face, and it sent chills down my spine.

Let me know what you thought about Catching Fire in the comments. Remember that while this review was spoiler-free, the comments won’t be. I look forward to discussing the movie with you guys!

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Iron Man 3 PosterThis is a spoiler free review. It’s not even a review, per se, but my thoughts about why I loved what they did with Tony’s character in Iron Man 3.

Because, you see, they made him human.

Okay, yes. He was already human. But that’s kind of not the point. He acted human, and I think that’s something a lot of superhero movies forget to take into consideration.

There are a lot of superheros out there that aren’t fully human, not like you or me at least. Superman. Spider-Man. The Hulk. Thor. Any of the X-Men. The Fantastic Four. And, of course, a lot of their opponents — Magneto, Venom, Loki, Thanos, etc. etc.

There are fewer superheroes that can be called human. Batman is obviously a huge one. Tony Stark is too.

I think the recent Batman trilogy by Christopher Nolan did a great job of humanizing Bruce Wayne. Some of it was still a little out there, but you know what? It’s a superhero movie. It’s supposed to be.

But if you take a look at some of these other characters – the ones that are more human than, say, Superman – they sort of welcome their new powers with open arms, don’t they? Peter Parker decided to sew his own suit and run around catching bad guys. Someone like Rogue obviously struggled with discovering her power, but instead of being driven mad, she struck out on her own to try and survive away from the civilization that she knew would judge and persecute her.

Me? I’d probably go crazy if I realized I could shoot freaking spider webs out of my hands or suck the life force out of my boyfriend.

Not all superhero movies have the time to explore this theme, and that’s fine. I’m not complaining. I love these movies. But it’s nice to see a movie go down that road, make it a part of the storyline, and not have it detract from the awesomeness of the film.

So. Iron Man 3.

Tony Stark Iron Man 3

I loved it. I thought it had a little bit of everything – action, humor, emotion, sincerity, and a lot of Tony Stark. (Because you just can’t go wrong with Tony Stark.) And that’s about as much as I’ll say about the actual movie – just because I want to talk about something else in particular. If you want a real (spoiler-free) review, check out my friend’s over on Gamerscene or Mr. Sunday Movies (for a video review – also spoiler free). If you want a spoiler-heavy place to discuss the movie with fans, check out Hypable.

The absolute best thing about this movie is the way they portrayed Tony. He’s out of his suit quite a bit. He has to make due without his fancy gadgets at some point, and it makes him vulnerable. It also makes him scared.

Tony has to deal with anxiety attacks in this film. And after what happened in New York City in The Avengers, it should come as no surprise. But it was surprising, because Tony’s always been cool. He’s always been calm and cocky. And so many other superheroes face down the supernatural and keep going on with their lives. Captain America is a great example of this. Sure, he’s sort of super human, but he’s still very much a man of the ’40s. And yet he faced the Red Skull, became a capsicle for 70 years, and woke up to a completely new world in which there’s Norse gods and giant green men and aliens coming out of a wormhole in the sky?

It’s actually a wonder he didn’t just jump back in the ocean.

Tony dealt with it while it was happening. It’s not like he really had a choice. But once he got home? Once the adrenaline receded and he could relax? He was a changed person. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t stop building Iron Man suits. He couldn’t function in society. He had anxiety for the first time in his life, and – in my opinion – that made him an even better character.

It’s always been hard to relate to Tony. He was never really a true underdog, was he? He always had the money and the cars and the gadgets and the girls. You obviously feel sorry for him, and you like him, and you root for him, but he doesn’t exactly represent the masses, does he? Someone like Cap will always have more of an underdog origin story.

But in Iron Man 3Tony finally becomes a pleb. He’s finally one of us. He’s scared and vulnerable and he doesn’t have his suit to protect him every step of the way. He’s desperate, and I think that’s the first time he’s felt that way since he had to find a more permanent (and convenient) way to stay alive than hooking up a car battery to his heart. And even that didn’t last long. He went on living life in mostly the same way.

Iron Man 3 SnowUntil New York happened.

Now he’s different. He’s paranoid and he’s angry and he’s so, so scared. This is how a normal human being would react to everything Tony’s gone through, and it’s finally made Tony accessible to the rest of us.

Who knows if there’s going to be an Iron Man 4. Who knows where Tony is going to go from here after everything that’s happened in this movie, but whatever does happen, I hope he stays this way. I love the old Tony, but I love this one too, and the writers showed us that they can balance hilarious one-liners with heartfelt emotion.

If we get more of that in a sequel, I say bring it on.

Have you watched Iron Man 3 yet? What did you think? Do you like the changes that Tony went through, or do you prefer the old Tony? (Note that the comments may contain spoilers!)

Warm Bodies Dead Sexy PosterBottom Line:

Watch it.

Details:

[No spoilers.]

Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the book, but there were some things that I thought took away from the story line. If you’ve read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Zombie marriage? Yeah, weird. Or all that going in and out of Perry’s memories, and then interacting with him while R was dreaming? It was confusing because you couldn’t always tell what was real and what wasn’t.

I still liked it, but I enjoyed the movie even more.

It kept the tone of the book, which was that it didn’t take itself too seriously. It was humorous and actually kind of uplifting, but it was also real and – yeah, I’m going to say it – kind of believable. It wasn’t cheesy and it had the whole theatre laughing. By the end of the movie, you were smiling from ear to ear.

And then you remembered. You just walked out of a zombie film.

Kind of strange, but it works. Now, if you’re not a fan of zombies (and I won’t blame you if you aren’t), I’d still suggest giving this movie a try. There were maybe three parts that were actually kind of gross, and it didn’t last long. Most of the movie is not focused on zombies eating people. Instead, it’s focused on how R is changing and becoming more and more human.

It’s also not scary. That was a concern of mine. I’m just about the biggest wimp you could ever hope to meet, and I only jumped once (and that was just because I was so into the movie and there was a gunshot and it took me by surprise!). But there really aren’t any zombies that jump out. (Whew.)

As I said, the film smoothed out the storyline quite a bit. They kept in all the parts I enjoyed the most, and took out the ones that I didn’t like. They added some newer scenes, and this actually helped to transition the story from one story line to another. Not only that, but the added bits at the end were a lot more satisfying than the ending of the book.

The acting was fabulous. I felt terrible for Nicholas Hoult – who is a great actor – because he spent most of the movie just grunting and groaning. Teresa Palmer (Julie) was a wonderful mix of being tough and vulnerable, which is something I enjoyed immensely about the character when I read the book. She captured her personality beautifully. Analeigh Tipton (Nora) wasn’t quite so prominent, but she had a lot of great lines and really caught your attention every time she was on screen.

All the supporting actors were wonderful as well. Rob Coddry as M got in most of the funny lines, and it was cool seeing him transform into a more human character as a side effect of what R was going through. John Malkovich always draws my attention when he’s on screen (I just love the way he delivers his lines), and he played an intelligent and intimidating leader without going over the top. Dave Franco played Perry, and although his part was small, he essentially had to play the same character at vastly different parts in time, so it was almost like playing two different characters all together.

In the end, this was a rom-com that just happened to feature zombies. It wasn’t over done, it wasn’t cheesy, and it wasn’t gory. It was a nice mix of everything, and I can’t wait to watch it again. It you want to watch something unique and refreshing, I highly recommend you go see Warm Bodies!

Have you seen it? If so, what did you think about it? If not, do you think you might give it a try?

Warm Bodies Book CoverI first heard about Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion when I saw the trailer for the movie. I watched it and was pleasantly surprised that it actually looked good, despite the kind of ridiculous sounding story line.

What’s the story line, you might ask? Well, it’s a zombie love story.

Yeah. A zombie love story.

And I’m not just talking about two people falling in love while zombies are on the loose. I’m not even talking about two zombies falling in love. I’m talking about a regular girl and a zombie falling in love.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Zombies are gross (true) and girls falling in love with dead supernatural beings has been done (also true).

But the cool thing about this book is that it’s different. It’s fast-paced and refreshing. It’s honest, raw, and unique. It’s a spin on zombies that I haven’t seen before, and it’s nice to see them (some of them at least) acting kind of human.

Even though I really enjoyed this book, I do have to say it read like an outline. I wanted a more fleshed out (ha ha) story. The different scenes sometimes bled into each and it got confusing. The premise lends itself to this sort of writing, but I’m not sure it always worked. I enjoyed the story so much that I wanted more of everything – more of R’s thoughts (he’s the zombie), more interaction with Julie, more confrontations, more backstories, more, more, more.

I guess that’s both a good thing and a bad thing – I left feeling a little let down, a little empty inside. But I also wanted more. I enjoyed living in this world so much that I didn’t want to give it up. I heard he’s going to be writing a sequel, so maybe I’ll get what I want when that gets published.

I do recommend the book, though it seems to fall into a strange category. Those who like love stories a la Twilight might not be totally into this, but those who love zombies might not like this softer version of the genre. It’s good for people who like zombies well enough, but can’t really get into the blood-and-guts that usually come with it.

I’m highly anticipating this movie. Check out the trailer below:


 

It looks weird and creepy and funny and awesome all at once. It captures the essence of the book pretty well, and some of my favorite scenes from the book are in the trailer. I’m also hoping that the filmmakers are able to fill in some of the gaps that left us hanging in the book. The novel is only about 150 pages long, so it was probably fairly easy to adapt into a screenplay. Here’s to hoping that it’s a faithful adaption and that it’s a runaway success!

Have you read the book? Looking forward to the movie? If this isn’t usually your cup of tea, would you be willing to give it a shot?

P.S. Here’s a review of the movie from someone who got to see it early. It’s a little spoilery, so I’d avoid it until you’ve read the book!

Bottom Line:

Watch it.

Details:

[No spoilers]

So, last week I shared my thoughts on the TV show Firefly. This week, I’m here to talk about Serenity, the follow-up movie that was made in 2005. As I mentioned before, Firefly only made it through the first season before it was taken from the air. Joss Whedon decided to make a movie to tie up loose ends and give loyal fans of the show some closure.

Whereas Firefly was a show about Mal and his crew, Serenity was very much a movie about Simon and River. River was the driving force behind the plot in Firefly in a lot of ways. It was because of her that the crew had to keep running from the Alliance – more than usual, anyway. But in the movie, River is the plot. She begins to act out, sometimes in dangerous ways, and Simon has to find a way to control her before Mal is forced to kick her off the ship. All this goes down while they have an intelligent and deadly assassin right on their heels.

So, how did this movie shape up against the show? Fairly well, actually. I watched it a few days after I saw the season finale of Firefly and I didn’t notice any major discrepancies. It felt exactly the same – just like an extra long episode. There were some things that threw me off a little bit, but I wasn’t sure if that was because I wasn’t paying attention, or because the movie didn’t do a good job of explaining it.

I definitely liked knowing a bit more about River and what it was like to be inside her head. She’s an incredible character with such a rich and complex personality. Summer Glau had a lot of time to shine in this movie, and she definitely delivered. Simon was also a bit more fleshed out, which was nice to see. I especially liked seeing some of the more lighthearted moments that they both brought to the table this time around.

I also liked some of the development with the other characters. Certain relationships came to a close. I’m happy with all of them, even if they all didn’t get a happy ending (and that’s as much as I’m going to say about that).  I’ve come to terms with it, and regardless of my personal feelings, it was good storytelling.

Also? Best tagline ever.

I also want to point out that River is not someone I’d want to mess with. She had some pretty action-packed fight sequences in the movie, and I was so, so happy to see that. Again, Summer Glau was just incredible and there was some beautiful choreography here.

So, what didn’t I like? Well, I didn’t like that it was over. These characters are so realistic and well thought out that you end up investing a lot of time and emotion into them. It’s sad to think that we might never get something new from this world.

It also left a few questions open. One in particular was Book’s backstory. It wasn’t a necessary thing to know, and maybe it was Joss’ way of leaving room open for a sequel of some sort, but I would’ve liked to have known who he really was.

Have you watched Firefly yet? What about Serenity?  What did you think of them? Was there anything in Serenity that didn’t sit well with you?

Please note that the comments section is NOT a spoiler-free zone. Feel free to talk about anything to do with Firefly and Serenity, as I’d really like to have a good discussion with other fans of the show. If you haven’t seen either one yet, proceed into the comments with caution!

Hey everyone! I’m over on Ddog’s blog today talking about the five things I’m MOST looking forward to in The Avengers, which is coming out in ONE WEEK. Go on over there and see what I have to say – and don’t forget to comment! I’d love to know what you’re most looking forward to in this movie.

A few weeks ago Ddog guest posted for me and asked us if the Spider-Man reboot movie was a good idea. If you missed it (or just forgot to comment!) head on over there and show him some love.

I’ll check into ROW on Sunday, and on Monday I’ll have a nice and shiny new post for you. Let’s see if you can figure out what it’ll be. Here are three clues: blue, hair, and travel. (No cheating! Leave your guesses in the comments below.)

Bottom Line:

Watch It.

Details:

[No spoilers!]

This isn’t really a movie, but a one hour Comedy Central special by my all time favorite comedian – Gabriel Iglesias. Gabriel is a gut-busting hilarious guy. He can do what other comedians rarely can: stay funny. I wouldn’t call him family friendly, exactly – he does talk about sex and sometimes he swears, but he is much more PG than a lot of other comedians out there. He’s great at poking fun at himself and he does awesome sound effects. Seriously, how can anyone not love this guy?

This is his first Comedy Central special. He’s been on the scene for a while before this, but this is the video that really got him going. And it’s been all laughs and chocolate cake since then.

There isn’t too much more I can say about this special, other than to watch it. I don’t want to ruin any of the jokes, so all I’ll say is: “fluffy,” “doughnuts,” “cops,” and “but it was funny, huh?”

If you don’t believe me, check out one of the best clips from his show down below. You can actually watch pretty much the whole thing online!


 
He’s had a couple more shows out since then, and they only get better! My favorite clip from I’m Not Fat…I’m Fluffy! is “The Chocolate Cake Made Me Late.” And even though it has nothing to do with this special, I can’t just walk away and not provide a clip for it:


 
So, if I didn’t already love Gabriel, the next bit of information would seal the deal: this guy is one of the nicest ones you’ll ever meet. Now, I’ve seen him once live, but I didn’t get a chance to talk to him. However, you can just tell the type of person he is. At our show, he went well over his time limit and he even took requests to do favorite jokes from previous specials. He took questions from the crowd, too! He always says that if you see him out in public, to never be afraid to approach him. He’s happy to sign autographs and stop for pictures, no matter what. And here’s two little tidbits from his website:

Gabriel once did a meet and greet at an El Paso Best Buy store that lasted over 5 hours. He signed autographs and posed for photos with every person in line.

And…

Gabriel’s longest show ever was over 4 hours long and he still did a meet and greet after that took another 2 hours.

It isn’t often that entertainers care so much about their fans and have the patience to do things that Gabriel does. All I have to say is… THANK YOU MR. IGLESIAS-WITH-AN-I.

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