Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Avengers

Houston we have a problem...I have not blogged in ages. Reviewing films is one of my favorite things to do and I have not gotten around to it in so long. I have gotten extremely lazy for numerous reasons, the main one being that it is now summer. I have watched many movies that I will probably never get around to actually reviewing but you can check out my instagram with the username theHAMster999 to see my general thoughts on movies I have watched. I will at least try and review all of the new movies I have seen in the theater. The oldest one would be "The Avengers." This ensemble cast takes us on a trip that follows the events of "Captain America" but feels more like a "Thor 2" on steroids. It is a blast especially for huge Marvel comic book fans. They will love to finally see the whole crew together. The reason this super hero flick works is because of a great ensemble cast and a script that uses them well. The screenplay does well at balancing all of the A-list actors giving them equal time to shine and kick super villain ass. The movie is especially cheesy and brings gods into these other Marvel character's universes but it is all good fun and done well. You can't complain about any of the actors because they are all awesome and bring their own humor to the movie. My whole family thoroughly enjoyed it and I am sure yours will also.

3 out of 5 Stars

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cabin In The Woods

It is not often that I spend $11.50 to go to the movie theater to see a horror film. The reason for this is mainly because most horror films suck. They all follow a familiar formula with teenagers heading out to a party or vacation site with plans of drinking and having reckless fun but then things do not go the way they are planned. The fun is ruined by either zombies, murderers, a curse, or whatever. "Cabin In The Woods" follows this familiar formula but then flips it upside down. I do not want to reveal anything but I promise that you will not see it coming. Sure, the whole thing is absolutely ridiculous. What horror flick isn't? There is not a single horror film that does not rest on a ridiculous concept. This film is crazy like all the others. The difference between this horror film and most is that this one is smart. It will be funny and enjoyable for your "average Joe" looking for a good scare and also fun for a fan upset with recent horror films that have been waiting for something better. This movie is not great but it gets major points for the guts shown by its directors. It does not follow the rules that recent horror films have set up where you can almost predict the ending and where the climax will take place. It is a bit of a head scratch-er, without being to hard for the average horror fan to understand.

3 out of 5 Stars

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Breaking The Waves

I am extremely behind in my reviewing of movies because of how busy I have been. This film is putting me back into gear. I just have to write about it. Lars von Trier is a weird and unique man. His movies are often controversial and contain aberrant explicit content. I liked "Dogville" and thought "Melancholia" was decent but this film absolutely blew me away. I was so gripped by this unconventional story about faith and naivety among other things. The film is packed with symbolism but at its surface also provides deep impact. I refuse to reveal any elements of the story because it must be something you go into knowing nothing about the story however, you must know this film will be deemed by most as strange or weird. Do not read any synopsis's or summaries from anywhere because they will reveal important plot points that do not come up until more then an hour into the film. It feels like a dogma film most of the time and breaks many of the rules for current film making. This film makes Lars von Trier in my opinion one of top directors in the world. He is a visionary. He tackles numerous subjects and does it with a unique and different style. It is at times humorous and funny, even joyful. It is also heartbreaking and tragic. The film like most of Trier's films are separated into chapters broken up by mostly still shots of nature that set the tone of each chapter. There is no way anyone could see where this film is leading without sufficient foreknowledge. It is strangely gripping and made me feel things that I do not think I have ever felt before. It is one of the most thought provoking films I have ever seen. I have written this much and I still have not talked about Emily Watson or any of the other actors. I believe that she gives the greatest and most powerful performance of any female actress in all of movie history. That is a bold statement, especially when you think back to Vivien Leigh. I would have to ponder on the subject more to come up with a final decision and I am currently deciding on that right now to write on the greatest performances of all time by an actress at a later date. Watson follows does her performance naturally without calculating anything. She does it freely and gives a riveting, moving performance. Stellan Skarsgard along with Katrin Cartlidge also provide us with incredible performances all worthy of an Academy Award nomination. I could go on for pages and pages about how amazing this film is but it is a conversation that should only be partaken by those who have already seen the film. I do not want to take away from the experience. You must see this movie. It is currently #30 on my Top 100 Movies of All Time List.

5 out of 5 Stars

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Last night I watched "Chronicle," which has been the teen favorite at the start of the 2012 year. It has garnered pretty decent reviews with an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. I understand why teens have been seeing it but I do not understand these positive reviews. I am a fan of the found footage steady cam movies like "The Blair Witch Project," "Paranormal Activity," "Cloverfield," and even "Quarantine" was fun. There was absolutely no reason for this movie to be done with a hand held camera. I think the premise of the film was cool and was its main asset. However, the found footage from multiple different cameras, not just one, feels like you are watching your friend play a bad video game. There is absolutely no character development at all. It just begins and goes real fast and the director expects you to care about these people. He really gives us no reason to. They are not necessarily real likable guys. The main problem I have with this movie is that a lot of things happen and there is no reason or explanation for it. These teenagers get infected or exposed to these things that make them telekinetic and we have no explanation on why this happens. This kid who struggles with life at home just randomly decides he wants to take a camera everywhere he goes and chronicle everything. Why is he doing this?!? He has to have the camera on at all times and refuses to let anyone turn it off. SPOILER ALERT: Towards the end, this kid goes crazy and starts wrecking havoc and killing everyone, even his closest friends. We are never given an explanation for why he does this. Sure, he has a tough home life with a drunken father but seriously? Also, the idea to think this kid is going to carry this camera everywhere even when he is robbing stores and murdering people. He is literally convicting himself constantly. The movie is completely ridiculous and I guess that is okay but normally with stupidity in movies there also comes at least a dumb explanation for it. The movie is only 1hr 20 minutes but probably is only intriguing for about fifteen minutes. The climax is not intense mainly because we do not care about these kids and the people this guy is killing seem less like people and more like CGI images you kill in a James Bond video game. It may be short but do not waste your time. It gets few stars for an interesting premise that is poorly executed and falls flat on its face.

2 out of 5 Stars

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Re-Review)

The other day I got to purchase my blu-ray copy of the American "Dragon Tattoo." I just finished watching it for the first time since its release in theaters and enjoyed it with no expectations what so ever. I was blown away. It was almost like I had a totally different experience this time. Rather then constantly comparing it to the Swedish original I really got to study the film on its own. This movie really is not a remake of the Swedish film but it is actually a different take of the novel written by Stieg Larsson. It is its own adaptation. I have found new love for this film that I did not have before and I strongly admire David Fincher's crafty direction and Rooney Mara's powerful performance. In this sitting she made me forget about Noomi Rapace, for the moment. I have difficulty deciding which film I like more. There are pluses and minuses to each I suppose. They are not necessarily minuses but one film focuses and executes better in one area then the other film may. I do not write this re-review so that you will disregard my previous review. All of the points that I made before remain true but the point is I thought of those things the first time in comparison to the Swedish film but this time I could not think of any of those negative. I was swooped away by the awkward romance in this version. There is much more focus on the relationship between Blomkvist and Salander in this movie. The ending of this film is done with perfection and brings a whole new complexity and side to this story. In this second sitting I noticed more of the fantastic dialogue and beautiful acting. Some of the lines said that go by so fast actually have powerful meaning that represents the emotions of the character throughout the entire film. When Lisbeth says that she has now found someone and is happy it makes the ending that much more heartbreaking. I originally thought this film was choppy and jumped around to much but now I believe that it serves the purpose and intensity of the story. I still believe the actual investigation and climax is better in the Swedish film but I believe that this film hits harder emotionally. This film goes deeper rather then just being an interesting, gruesome, and entertaining mystery it becomes an emotional powerful work of cinema. This does not mean that the Swedish film is not powerful I just feel the need right now to correct the skepticism I had on this film previously. Both films are fantastic in their own unique ways and I refuse to decide which one is superior to the other. This movie has earned a higher ranking as one of my favorite films of 2011.

5 out of 5 Stars - Swedish
5 out of 5 Stars - American

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games

The 2012 year of cinema has started off fantastically. It began with a hilarious and raunchy comic hit and now delivers an anticipated mainstream phenomenon. It is very rare to see a mainstream book adaptation, with a huge fan base, be made into a truly moving, intense, and crafty film. Mainstream cinema should always feel like this. I am sure many readers if this have read the books but I still do not want to spoil anything. I unfortunately, have not set aside the time to read "The Hunger Games" and give a completely unbiased viewpoint that perhaps a purist fan would have. I was skeptical when walking into this movie knowing it would resemble "Battle Royale."  However, once the film started I completely forgot all of this.This film takes an entirely different angle then my Japanese favorite does. "The Hunger Games" has to do more with emotion and feeling and how inhumane the whole situation is. I admit I teared up quite a few times throughout the film. Even if I could somewhat predict the way the story would go I still got choked up. The material is done with such great execution that you are just completely submerged into the story. Jennifer Lawrence does fantastic. She give an incredibly powerful performance that I do not think any other actress could have delivered. She embodies the character of Katniss and takes it to new heights. You will likely recognize many A-list actors when you watch this film and they all put their best foot forward. Standouts include Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, and Lenny Kravitz. They all take the little time they have in this abridged script and really work with it. In these kinds of adaptations where there is so much going on that is needed to be fit in, it is really hard to make time for character development. This film succeeds in completing that task and makes the movie that much more powerful. It really makes all the difference in the world. All of the unrecognizable actors and no names do a fantastic job. Josh Hutcherson from "The Kids Are All Right" does great as does Amandla Stenberg. The cinematography is done well by using a number of unique camera angles mixed in with POV's and reality t.v. like camera shots. It adds to the intensity of the graphic violence that seems to last a long time. The movie is not incredibly violent but may be a little surprising for a PG-13. Let's just say blood is shown. To sum it all up the story is what really makes all of this great.  Suzanne Collins is clearly a great storyteller and her screenwriters did a great job adapting her wonderful work. The movie is all you want in a mainstream action flick and more. It raises deep societal questions along with making challenges on humanity itself. It is extremely intense and emotional and if you do not feel anything after this film is over you probably do not have a soul. This movie is great fun for the entire family, I am so excited about it. I cannot wait to see what  the rest of 2012 has to offer.

5 out of 5 Stars

Thursday, March 22, 2012

21 Jumpstreet

Unfortunately, I have not been able to sit down and really blog for awhile. I still have not released my Top 10 0f 2011, but it is coming soon. I have now finally taken the time to blog for the first time in a few weeks to review my first film of the year 2012 and the funniest film I have ever seen in the theater. "21 Jumpstreet" is hilarious. I do not think I have ever laughed so hard in my life. It is ridiculous and raunchy but somehow remains charming. Jonah Hill has solidified his status as a fantastic comic and a fabulous actor with his nomination at the Academy Awards. We will be seeing a lot more of him in the future in both dramatic and comedic roles. I cannot wait to see more of what he can do. Channing Tatum also supplies us with a hilarious comedic turn. I have always thought of him as an average actor with a nice set of abs until I saw this movie. His comic timing is perfect and holds himself well opposite an Academy Award nominated actor. I am now even more excited to see his semi-autobiographical film about his days as a male stripper in Florida, directed by prestigious director Stephen Soderbergh. The script is a stand out in this film which is co-written by Jonah Hill. It is not only appealing to all ages in terms of comedy but also is current and up to date with today's pop culture. We see parodies of Eminem along with "Requiem For A Dream." It is outrageously hilarious but I warn you do not take your kids. This is certainly an adult comedy and I was lucky enough to sneak in (my birthday is in less then 2 months.) It is next to impossible to go see this in the theater without having a good time. The whole atmosphere of everyone laughing is almost to much to handle. The community of so many different people coming together and sharing a good time is extremely unique to the cinema. Fans of the original television show will not see much resemblance to the original series besides the main premise but they will surely enjoy this reboot of the idea and a hilarious cameo. Go see this in theaters with your friends and do not waste your time with a sure to be crappy movie like "Project X." This is a film that film critics and average teens will sit side by side with each other and laugh in synchronization.

5 out of 5 Stars