Saturday, December 14, 2013

Review The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Distributor: New Line Cinema
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer(s):  Fran Walsh (Screenplay), Philippa Boyens (Screenplay), and Peter Jackson 
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Other Dwarves, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lily, and Benedict Cumberbatch as voice of Smaug
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images
Running Time: 161 min
Synopsis: The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring.

What Others Are Saying?

Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 74% "Fresh", Top Critics: 68% "Fresh", Audience: 88% "Like It"
Metacritic: Critics: 66 out of 100, Users: 8.5 out of 10
MRQE Metric: 70 out of 100
My Review

Source Material: Based off The Hobbit, and other "Middle-Earth" books written by J. R. R. Tolkien.   

Entertaining Value:

  • Action Elements: Most of the action in this film is fun and a bit whimsical, don't get me wrong there are some bad-ass fights as well.    
  • Comedy Elements: The comedy in this film was there to off set the grim tone of Mirkwood, but personally I think there could have been a smidgen more.     
  • Dramatic Elements: The main drama in this film is seen in the form of characters reacting to the environment. There is also a small bit of love triangle going on.       
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy Elements: "This film is set in high fantasy world called "Middle-Earth" with humans, dwarves, eleves, hobbits, and dragons.       
Cinematic Value:
  • Acting and Dialogue: 7: The cast for this film is phenomenal. I like see some of the old face like  Ian McKellen, and Orlando Bloom playing their respectable character from The Lord of the Rings. For those of you who thought Orlando played Bard as well you are wrong Bard is played by Luke Evans. (known for The Three Musketeers, and Immortals)  I agree he does have a similar face but I think he is a better actor than Orlando Bloom.                       
  • Art Direction: 9: New Zealand is the best backdrop for high fantasy worlds.     
  • Cinematography: 7: The winding camera motion in some of the sequence could cause vertigo especially in 3D, but over all it was well shot.    
  • Direction: 6: The film is a long movie, clocking in around 2hrs and 40min. So having few slower part in the center makes this film drag on a bit. I wasn't board but I knew I have been sitting in a theater chair for a while.                  
  • Editing: 6: I think they could have given Beorn the Tom Bombadil treatment. I feel like Beorn was good opening mysterious danger that the company has to face, but he didn't really do much for story thereafter. He gave the audience some exposition on the Mirkwoods and then gave the company some ponies that were only used to ride to edge of his proprietary.  
  • Screenplay: 7: I know the main buzz that has the fanboys panties in bunch is Legolas and Tauriel. Personally I'm fine with them being in the film and this is why. This film version of the Hobbit is Peter Jackson's interpretation of the Hobbit combined with other Tolkien works like The Silmarillion. Peter Jackson also has taken some creative freedom to create a bridge to connect The Hobbit trilogy to The Lord of the Rings trilogy. From my understanding Legolas and Tauriel are supposed to be one of the main catalyst between the two sets of films.              
  • Sound and Music: 8: I have always love the score to the Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit.
  • VFX: 9: It visual fx were great can't wait to see this in 48 frames/sec on Blu-ray and what not.   
Overall: 7: I really enjoyed this film over all, sure there was some stuff I didn't like but you get that with every film. I say go see it.            

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Thor: The Dark World


Thor: The Dark World 

Distributor: Marvel Studios (Walt Disney)
Director: Alan Taylor
Writer(s):  Christopher Yost (screenplay), Christopher Markus (screenplay)...Many More
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Christopher Eccleston
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content
Running Time: 112 min
Synopsis: Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

What Others Are Saying?

Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 66% "Fresh", Top Critics: 38% "Fresh", Audience: 86% "Like It"
Metacritic: Critics: 54 out of 100, Users: 7.9 out of 10
MRQE Metric: 59 out of 100
My Review

Source Material: Characters based off Marvel Comic character created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby .  

Entertaining Value:

  • Action Elements: You defiantly get a good amount of action, almost not stop action.    
  • Comedy Elements: Good comic lines interwoven throughout the dialogue.    
  • Dramatic Elements: There is a couple good dramatic moments in this film.       
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy Elements: "Gods" + Dark Elves + Science +  Different World / Realm, this film is chalk full Sci-Fi goodness.     
Cinematic Value:
  • Acting and Dialogue: 7: The acting was sold. Its good to see Chris Hemsworth stepping up his acting chops. I also like seeing the secondary and tertiary actor like Idris Elba, Zachary Levi, and Jaimie Alexander give damn good performance, even though there screen time was weak. Christopher Eccleston is a great actor but his role in this film was baldly written.               
  • Art Direction: 7: I like seeing more of Asgard and the other realms as well, over all the art direction in this film was good.    
  • Cinematography: 7: I feel the film was well shot, even with a heavily action pack film, like this one.  
  • Direction: 7: Alan Taylor is know for directing HBO television show like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, and Rome. I think he made a good jump to big screen as an director. I know there has been a lot complaints among my friends that the film was to short. I kind of agree that it seem like a short two hours. I also think that the enjoyment of the film created a longing for a longer film.                  
  • Editing: 6: I think the "fast paced film" was because of the editing. This film deals with multiple different realms and jumping from one to another. I feel like there to much "Meanwhile..." moments in the film     
  • Screenplay: 6: I felt that some story items were weak. Malekith was there just the full the bad guy roll, he didn't really have a motive. The love triangle between Thor, Sif, and Jane could have been portrayed better. The one evil eye, "so you are the Earth girl" look wasn't enough. We saw true loyalty and friendship form Sif but the story didn't really let that developed romantically.  
  • Sound and Music: 6: Fitting.
  • VFX: 8: It was great to see more of Asgard, it felt more living than before. I heard this film as being described as Star Wars meets Lord of the Rings. Visually I see where they are coming from.   
Overall: 7: I really enjoyed this film and I think most of the fan of Marvel will as well. Personally I think it works as a stand alone action film, sci-fi, and fantasy. Oh Look for a great cameo            

Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: The Wolverine


The Wolverine  

Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: James Mangold
Writer(s):  Mark Bomback (screenplay), Scott Frank (screenplay)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language
Running Time: 126 min
Synopsis: Summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance, Wolverine becomes embroiled in a conflict that forces him to confront his own demons.

What Others Are Saying?

Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 66% "Fresh", Top Critics: 61% "Fresh", Audience: 779% "Like It"
Metacritic: Critics: 60 out of 100, Users: 7.3 out of 10
MRQE Metric: 59 out of 100
My Review

Source Material: Characters based off Marvel Comic character created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein, and John Romita, Sr.  

Entertaining Value:

  • Action Elements: Wolverine frenzy   
  • Comedy Elements: Some cleaver banter    
  • Dramatic Elements: This film tried maybe a bit to hard..     
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy Elements: Not a mutant fest, but there is good amount of comic book logic.     
Cinematic Value:
  • Acting and Dialogue: 7: Hugh Jackman has set the tone to how Wolverine should be played. He was perfectly cast as Wolverine way back in X-men. I'm glad to see him back. Other actors did a decent job for being no-names.          
  • Art Direction: 7: For me I loved Japan as a backdrop. I'm glad they spent the money to film in Japan.    
  • Cinematography: 6: The action sequence were a bit to "shaky-cam" for my tastes. The train sequence was cool even though some of the gags were scene before in other films. 
  • Direction: 6: For an action film, in parts it felt kind of slow. Even thought dramatic scenes in most action films are an oxymoron, this one handled them pretty well.             
  • Editing: 6: I think the editing wasn't bad for an action film, but not remembered either.        
  • Screenplay: 7: I felt they handled the story really well. I like the contrast between Logan without powers vs the fury with powers. 
  • Sound and Music: 6: Fitting.
  • VFX: 8: Well Done for the budget.      
Overall: 6.5: I think for the average film fan this film might be a pass but for a X-men fan it might lean toward the must see...especially for the "easter egg" scene during the credits.           

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review: Star Trek Into Darkness


Star Trek Into Darkness  

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer(s):  Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, and Benedict Cumberbatch
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.
Running Time: 132 min
Synopsis: After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

What Others Are Saying?

Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 86% "Fresh", Top Critics: 80% "Fresh", Audience: 89% "Like It"
Metacritic: Critics: 73 out of 100, Users: 7.8 out of 10
MRQE Metric: 74 out of 100
My Review

Source Material: Characters based off of television show Star Trek The Original Series, created by Gene Roddenberry. 

Entertaining Value:

  • Action Elements: Oh Yeah....Boom, there was another explosion. If you like action film then this might be up your ally.     
  • Comedy Elements: The majority of the jokes in this film are place their for avid Star Trek fan. "Damn it Jim I'm a doctor, not a movie reviewer"    
  • Dramatic Elements: This film hints at it to a degree with the revenge tone of the film.     
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy Elements: There was good 1,400 effect shots. With an action space movie what do you expect?    
Cinematic Value:
  • Acting and Dialogue: 7: The acting chops carried over from the first film but there is one guy that everyone will be talking about and that is Benedict Cumberbatch. I personally haven't seen an episode of Sherlock so I can't compare performances, but he did a great job in this film. I believe a major selling point for an actor is how well they can perform as a villain.              
  • Art Direction: 6: I personally don't like a shiney future. I'm more of a fan of a "lived" in future like that of Star Wars.  
  • Cinematography: 8: I think the camera choice allowed for the action to develop. I also like some of the camera transitions that brought the atmosphere that we "the viewer" was in space. Another thing I like was the flow of the film. I felt like I was walking along side the actors.  
  • Direction: 8: The film was very well paced for most part. I think there was some story flaws near the beginning that slowed it down a bit.           
  • Editing: 7: That flow I talked about earlier also was reflected in the editing, which was very nice.      
  • Screenplay: 7: The characters in Star Trek have a good 30 years of development, so fans of Star Trek are going to look for those quirks...When they see them or hear them in the case of a catch phrase, they will think, "That's Kirk I know and love" This film like its predecessor dose a great job of inserting those classic "Star Trek" elements. As far as the story goes I personally thing the events that happen near the beginning could have played out slightly different, because I felt it was a little on "beating around the bush" side. Basically I was thinking the entire time in my head, this should happen or will happen, or I will be mad.
  • Sound and Music: 7: I think the score was classic Star Trek and was very well done.       
  • VFX: 9: I willing to be this film is among the top film in visual effect category at the Oscars.      
Overall: 7.5: I feel overall this film was very exciting and entertaining, I think even more so for a Star Trek fan. I recommend it and it might very well be worth watching it a couple of times.          

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Review: The Great Gatsby


The Great Gatsby 

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Writer(s):  Baz Luhrmann (screenplay), Craig Pearce (screenplay)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire,Carey Mulligan
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language
Running Time: 143 min
Synopsis: A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor.

What Others Are Saying?

Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 47% "Fresh", Top Critics: 32% "Fresh", Audience: 84% "Like It"
Metacritic: Critics: 55 out of 100, Users: 8.0 out of 10
MRQE Metric: 58 out of 100
My Review

Source Material: Based from the book with the same name, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Entertaining Value:

  • Action Elements: If you take in account of the atmosphere of the "Roaring 20's" then this film is an action film all the way. This film dose a good job leading us through the life of an adventures "playboy" of the 1920's.    
  • Comedy Elements: This film continues down the road of the 1920's when it come to the comedy in the film, therefore it exemplifies the light heartness of that era.  
  • Dramatic Elements: This is where the film shine brightest. I like how well the film portrayed the themes and motifs from the book.    
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy Elements: The film plays with some fantasy elements but only in an artistic way. This film is more or less a dramatic comedy.   
Cinematic Value:
  • Acting and Dialogue: 7:  Leonardo DiCaprio recreated Gatsby. I personally like his portrayal. The other actors did a great job as well, except maybe Tobey Maguire. I'm only saying that because he always seem a bit awkward, or even "out of place" in all this roles. So in general Tobey Maguire is already a hard sell. The dialogue is rememberable and quotable.Which I think come from good script writing.          
  • Art Direction: 8: I feel like Baz Luhrmann film's always have good art direction. To me his film are a cross of beautiful and trippy, not psychedelic, but colorful. That might be attributed to the cinematography style he uses in his films. I really love the costumes in this film, I know that's a different department, but bravo. 
  • Cinematography: 7: The cinematography style in this film must be trademark by Baz Luhrmann's "DoP" because as I was watching this film It reminded me of his other films like Moulin Rouge or even Romeo + Juliet. That's not a bad thing, its in my opinion a good thing, make it more distinguished.            
  • Direction: 6: I felt like this film was to much like roller coaster in its fast, then to slow, up then down..ect.         
  • Editing: 6: The editing in this film is weird like most of Baz Luhrmann's films.     
  • Screenplay: 7: I thought the character developmental in this film was fantastic as far as that goes. For the adaption part, I sit on the fence. I barley remember reading the book in high school, which was long enough time ago to forget a good chunk of the story. From what I have heard it is a solid representation of the book.                     
  • Sound and Music: 2: Now for the worst part of the film in my opinion. Everything about the 1920's atmosphere was represented in away that was copacetic, except for music. Who in there right mind decided to mix 1920's music with modern rap. The music was actually a detraction because it didn't fit the atmosphere. Maybe the filmmakers were trying to make the connection that irresponsible party attitude of the "Roaring 20's" is a refection of today. I also noticed that sometimes they would use "rap music" to highlight the black culture having a good time, which I felt was very stereotypical if not border line racist. I don't know what they were trying to achieve with music, all I know is it was BAD.        
  • VFX: 7: The visual effect accompanied the art direction and cinematography very well .    
Overall: 6.5: Strip away the Baz Luhrmann style and this film dose even worse. I feel this film is good for a one time go at the movie theater for the matinee prices, or just waiting and renting it. I think this film is also more enjoyable with a group over watching be yourself.           

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review: Iron Man 3


Iron Man 3 

Distributor: Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures
Director: Shane Black
Writer(s): Drew Pearce (screenplay), Shane Black (screenplay)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content.
Running Time: 130 min
Synopsis: When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.

What Others Are Saying?

Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 79% "Fresh", Top Critics: 70% "Fresh", Audience: 83% "Like It"
Metacritic: Critics: 62 out of 100, Users: 6.5 out of 10
MRQE Metric: 69 out of 100
My Review

Source Material: Based of comic book character with the same name, thank you Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  

Entertaining Value:

  • Action Elements: There is always one thing you can count on during the summer movie season and that is action. Iron Man 3 is chalk full of action.    
  • Comedy Elements: Let's take a shot for every "smart-ass" remark Tony Stark says, and see who gets drunk first. Most of the comedy in this film is in the form of one-liners, or campy slap-stick from Irom Man suits. 
  • Dramatic Elements: Personally I thing this area failed the most. The revenge theme the film was striving for could have been better. In my opinion I think "death" works better than "in the hospital dying" in a revenge scenario.   
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy Elements: I think some of the Stark-tech in this film was a bit on the lacking side.  
Cinematic Value:
  • Acting and Dialogue: 6.5: Overall the acting was solid. Just look at the cast. I think Terrence Howard has more personality and was a better James "Rhodey" Rhodes but Don Cheadle makes a better "War Machine" but that's not why the score in this category is on the low side. Over doing it on the campy dialogue is what was disappointing to me. I feel this film was trying to focus on a serious themes and conditions like that of post traumatic stress disorder, which Tony Stark showcase through out the film, but then they watered it down with comedy.       
  • Art Direction: 7: The different suit designs were cool.  
  • Cinematography: 7: I sometimes have trouble with action films because the framing is wonky and shaky, therefore the action develops to fast...Iron Man 3 is NOT one of those film.      
  • Direction: 6: Full epicness wasn't achieved. I felt that most of the "epic moment" of the film were turned into humors ones. Besides that the pacing and action seem well choreographed.      
  • Editing: 7: I feel in some parts there was going to be a big reveal like, the under ground hall of suits, but then it cuts to something else. That just might be attributed to my personal expectation of what was going to happen.     
  • Screenplay: 6: Things that angered me: The villains were misrepresented, the person who defeats the villain wasn't Iron Man, not enough time devoted to "Iron Man" aka Tony in suit, to many suit failures...ect.               
  • Sound and Music: 7: The sound track was decent.    
  • VFX: 7: Soild ILM work...even though most of it seem to be a suit fest, especially near the end.    
Overall: 6.5: This film is somewhere between being awesomeness and disappointment, or maybe its just my nerd rage flaring up and it was better than what it seem. I enjoyed the film overall but parts of the film agitated my Iron Man nerd-isms.          

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Can any genre of film produce a good sequel?

There is two ways to approach this question, financially and aesthetically.

We have to remember that filmmaking is a business therefore the purpose of producing films is to make money. With that being said let me share this antidote. A new filmmarker is personally given a thousand dollars to make their film. The overall gross of this film is five thousand dollars, which is a profit of four thousand dollars. The producer of the film will then hint at the idea of a sequel, knowing that there is potential of striking gold. This producer will sweeten the deal by given the filmmaker more money to make the sequel. The filmmaking process is repeated with the same formulas with hopes of profit. This process will be repeated until the films become not profitable, or the filmmaker runs out of ideas. Before the filmmaker runs out of ideas, the producer will take the project and hand it to a filmmaker willing to piggyback off of someone else idea. This very producer could very well utter these words, “We will make twenty of them if it puts money in my pocket.” This antidote defines “good” in the question, Can any genre of film produce a good sequel, as profitable. The answer to this question will be yes if the film will be profitable for all parties in the end. This isn't a bad way of thinking, any good business man should think this way but film is also an art form, therefore pleasing the aesthetics audience has to be factored into the formula.

I believe the best way to pin down the aesthetic of sequels is to look at what “we” want in a story. Realistically, everybody wants something different, hence why many different genres and sub-genres exist. I believe that certain genre lend themselves to sequel more than others. The following characteristics of a story tend to need sequels to develop well round movies: Epics with rich lore and well developed characters, exploration of a new and existing world or universe, pop culture icons with many years of cannon. Movie that are made with these characteristics tend to fall in one of the following genres: adventure, comic book, fantasy, horror, or sci-fi. While other stories only need one telling, because they are that good. Most genres that encompass this notion are action, comedy, thrillers, and western. Some of these genres might be easier to stretch into more than one film but others like comedy it’s a bit harder. Comedy is hard because its nature is to be funny. Have you ever heard a joke that has lost it funny? Most answer this question with yes because when jokes are told over and over they began to become unfunny. The same happens with comedy film and their sequels, jokes are recycled and it becomes unfunny. Not to pick on comedies by any means , but my point is some genre it’s hard to make a good sequel because the information given in the story doesn't lend to expansion.