Posts Tagged ‘Movie’

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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The Mortal Instruments PosterBottom Line:

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

Details:

[Some spoilers, but remember that the book has been out for six years…]

I saw They Mortal Instruments: City of Bones this past weekend and really enjoyed it. I’ll preface this by saying this series is good, but it won’t be cracking my top five list anytime soon. It might not ever break into my top ten. The premise is quite good, but the writing was nothing spectacular.

Still, I was really hyped to see the movie. It look amazing and exciting and action packed, and apparently I just can’t get enough of book-to-film adaptations. Which is good, considering they’re not going away anytime soon.

One of the first things I noticed with this film was that it was absolutely beautiful. All of the sets were spectacular, even the ones as simple as the apartment building or the cafe Clary and Simon like to visit. The Institute in particular was breathtaking, and it felt so full and lived-in. It definitely sucked you right into the movie.

I also thought the casting was fantastic. I was worried about Jaime Campbell Bower living up to my expectations as Jace. Although the look of the character wasn’t quite what I had envisioned, the actor definitely played the part. His serious demeanor, his mannerisms, and his sarcasm were right on par. Along with that I thought the actors that played Isabelle and Alec also knocked it out of the park, though Simon was by far my favorite.

The action in this movie was brilliant. It was frightening and exciting and realistic. It moved fast, it looked real, and it seemed like the characters really were fighting for their lives. Action is one of my favorite elements to any movie, and fight scenes are something I can be critical about. But I really, really enjoyed them in this movie.

This is a bit of a spoiler, but only if you haven’t read the books (and if you don’t want to know exact details about the movie). The possible incest plot in the books just about ruined the first novel for me. You’re meant to really root for Jace and Clary, only to get the rug pulled out from under you. It’s one thing to go down the “we can’t be together root”; it’s something else entirely to say, “we may be brother and sister.” In the movie, they pretty much spelled out to the audience that it was a lie. I’m glad they did this, because it made it far less uncomfortable to watch.

Magnus Bane Godfrey Gao

Flipping over to the things I didn’t like, I have to mention Godfrey Gao. Don’t get me wrong here, though. I love Godfrey Gao (mostly for superficial reasons). I think he makes an amazing Magnus. His makeup, clothes, and acting were spot on. His voice? That’s another story. He has a beautiful Eastern accent (he’s Taiwanese), but in the movie it’s American. Which would be fine…if it didn’t sound like they dubbed it. Now, I don’t know if they actually did do that, but there are definitely other people across the internet wondering the same thing. (Also, I could have used him on my screen more, thanks.)

The biggest problem I had with this movie was that it was too funny. The humor seemed out of place in a lot of spots, and it just fell flat. I blame the script rather than the actors. There are definitely jokes that landed well, but a few just died as soon as they came out of someone’s mouth. They seemed cheesy and forced, and a few were in spots that were full of action and suspense. It brought you out of the moment when all you wanted to do was be on the edge of your seat and find out what was going to happen next.

My last point is a minor one, especially since it might have more to do with the source material than anything else. It’s been a while since I’ve read the book, so I’m just going to comment on what I got from the movie. The entire movie only really did one thing for us: It told us that Clary is a Shadowhunter and then showed us her abilities. Everything else was a setup. Her interactions with the cup, her father, her mother, Simon, and Jace (among other things I’m sure) were never resolved. There wasn’t a lot of closure at the end of the movie. It definitely left you wanting more, but in this case I just didn’t feel satisfied enough.

I really did like the movie, though, and will be looking forward to the sequel. I think if they just nip and tuck a few points, they will have a ever better movie on their hands the next time around. Here’s to hoping!

Have you seen City of Bones? Are you planning on it? Have you read the books?

Lost Years of Merlin CoverThe Lost Years of Merlin book, and the accompanying series, is one of my favorites of all time. I mean, it’s up there with Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Percy Jackson.

If you haven’t heard of it before, please do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s by T.A. Barron, and it deserves to be better known than it is. It’s the story of Merlin before he became the infamous wizard and mentor to Arthur, before he knew exactly what he was and who he could become.

I would call it YA, but it reads more like an epic. Something closer to A Song of Ice and Fire (from what I’ve heard, at least, I haven’t read it yet) than Harry Potter.

And they’re making it into a film. This both excites me beyond words (read: asdfghjk; !!!!!) and terrifies me.

I mean, what if they mess it up? What if everyone thinks it’s a dumb movie? What if it flops and they don’t get to make the second, third, fourth, and fifth films? I’ll be devastated. No, really. I’ll have to take off work for bereavement.

It has the potential to become huge. WB is pooling its resources and really hopes to make this The Next Big Thing. I don’t know if it will be, but it definitely has the potential.

Part of me doesn’t want them to make the movie. No movie would be better than a terrible one (see: many people’s feelings about Lightning Thief). And if the movie is terrible, maybe they won’t even give the books a try. That would be a travesty.

On the other hand, I really, truly, absolutely want them to make it into a film. I want it to be epic and wonderful and perfect. Great casting, great locations, great writing, and great CGI. I want the world to take notice of the movie and then subsequently take notice of the books. Because that’s where the true magic lies, and that’s where all the praise should go – back to the author.

I want the ability to see all the characters that have lived in my head for so long to become corporeal on screen. Is that too much to ask?

I’m sure I don’t need to ask this question, but has there ever been a movie adaptation of book that has meant so much to you that you’re unsure if you want to go see it or not? Which one was it? 

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:

[Minor spoilers.]

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve done a movie review. It’s also been a while since this movie came out. But I think it’s a great film, so I’m glad to still share my thoughts on it.

So, I didn’t really want to watch this movie when it first came out. I thought it was going to be kind of cheesy and definitely for little kids. It just didn’t seem to appeal to my usual animation loving self, so I didn’t go to the theatre. I didn’t rent it from RedBox. But when I found out it was on Netflix, I decided to give it a try.

The end result? Moderate surprise. Intellectual stimulation. Laugh-out-loud hilarity.

Let’s take that one at a time.

First of all, the moderate surprise. The movie starts out telling you exactly how many times Romeo and Juliet has been told. And how this is not that story. Wow. One point for the home team. I was glad it wasn’t a rehashing of the Shakespearean tale. I mean, granted, yes this is really based on Romeo and Julie, but they take it out of context and apply it to a different kind of character, who lives in a different world, with a different set of rules. Oh, and there’s a happy ending. Thank goodness. (I mean, this is Disney, after all.)

And the intellectual stimulation? Okay, maybe stimulation isn’t the right word, but this movie is smart. As the movie begins, you notice that the human characters that own the warring gardens live at 2B Verona drive. Both mail boxes have 2B written on them, but one of them is crossed out. Ha. Nanette, the frog and Juliet’s best friend, grabs a sock for Juliet to disguise herself with. As she heads down from the clothesline, we see a shirt with a picture of Kermit the Frog on it. Double ha. The laptop is not an Mac (Apple), but a….banana. HAHAHA.

*Ahem*

Lastly, we have the laugh out loud hilarity, as glimpsed above. Above anything else, this movie was funny. My favorite part was when Gnomeo was chatting with the statue of William Shakespeare, who was telling him all about Romeo and Juliet. Gnomeo told him it had a stupid ending and ran off to make sure that he and Juliet could be together. One of my favorite characters was Featherstone. He was so adorable and I loved his accent! The best part was when his legs popped off and Gnomeo was surfing him all the way to the fence gate. And what about the ridiculousness of the entire movie? How there was a toilet in the middle of Montague’s garden, or that the gnomes had to freeze whenever a person looked at them, or even the fact that they raced on lawn mowers?

So, yes, I highly recommend this movie. It’s great for kids – they’ll enjoy the music and the likeability of the characters. But I think parents and adults will like this as well. It’s fun to see how many Easter eggs you can spot!

Have you seen this movie? What did you think of it?