Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Hello friends and film addicts,

I declared the Summer of 2011 to be my "Summer of 101 Movies!". It wass my goal to watch 101 movies I have never seen or finished by the end of the summer. I decided to put myself through this rigorous challenge after an argument I had with my friend, Zach Stanifer, over the fact that I want to write movie scripts but have missed out on alot of classics and blockbusters over the years. It was in that moment that I decided to challenge myself to expand my pallet and discover what the big screen could do for me through DVDS, Bluray and instant Netflix!

 Here goes my second blurb bomb!

 Quick note on my rating system?
*/5. So Bad Its Good- If I give a movie a "*," that means a special little turd. Its a movie that is so bad that its hilarious (even if the directors didn't mean to make it that way). These movies are great for sharing with friends and tearing it apart. Ex. The Room, Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation, Mac and Me.

 1/5 Kill It With Fire, If I give a film a rating of "1" it means the movie isn't just bad. It is barely a movie or so offensive that to even uses a single sensory organ to witness it would be an insult to the heavens. If I give a movie a 1, avoid it at all costs. The film is pure garbage. Kill it with fire. Ex.  Shrek The Third, Punisher: Warzone, 10,000 B.C. 

2/5. Bad, A movie that lands itself in the bad category means that, while a failure, is not a complete failure. The movie might have some entertainment value, like a good character/scene, but as a whole it fails or is offensive. Ex. Wolverine Origins, Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace, Hancock.

3/5. Okay, The movie was neither bad nor great. Its probably worth at least once viewing and maybe more if it really catches your fancy. This is probably the easiest rating to give a movie. ex. Night at the Museum, Simpsons Movie, Prince of Persia.

4/5. Great, These are the movie I recommend you check out at least once before you die or it you're just bored. These are the movies that really deserve attention and help elevate film as art and entertainment. ex. Iron Man, How to Train Your Dragon, The 40-Year Old Virgin.

5/5. Favorite, These movies are instant classics....or at least in my book. I reserve 5/5s for movies that I HAVE to own and watch and share with everyone. At some point this year, I'll probably make a list for my top 100 films. Wink. ex. Big Trouble in Little China, Brazil, The Royal Tenenbaums.

15. Interview with the Vampire. 4/5. I can see why this is such a classic vampire flick. It established a modern vampire mythos by using the creative backdrop of an interview between a skeezy Christian Slater and our main character, Louis. He tells the tale of his life from his low beginnings to his turning to his search for the meaning of vampire life.

The actor who really steals the show is, of course, Tom Cruise, hamming it up as Lestat. Playing up the bromance between his more dubious vampire and sensitive "vampire with a heart" works well, especially when placing the little lady of the film, Claudia, played by a young Kirsten Dunst. between their two philosophies. The thing that keeps this movie from being a repeat watch is how the second half drags after a premature climax between the two main characters in the middle.

16. Terminator. 5/5. Its a classic thriller/action flick with the man himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the unstoppable robot killing machine from the year 2020, or something like that. This is a great example for all those directors and writers out there that wanna create an interesting thriller.

The action is effective, the characters are likeable and the mysteries to be solved, allow it to become more than the repetitive mess that most "unstoppable killer" flicks could possibly contend with.

17. Babe: Pig in the City. 4/5. This is a perfect example of a good sequel and a great family movie. Just as heartwarming as the original, it used the timeless children's move formula of piling tragedy upon tragedy, with a happy ending always on the horizon.

The comedy in this movie does tend to go from slapstick to animals talking but the sobering reality of it all keeps it from becoming too silly. The one thing this movie has over the originals is visuals. With a sequel, its always important to push the envelope, and the clever visual effects used to depict the "city" and its atmosphere are extremely enchanting. A must watch film for fans of the original.

18. True Grit (2010). 4/5. This is a pretty solid Western film from the Coen brothers. I don't have many complaints and was pleased with the overall production and was especially fond of all the performances. Its more of a dark comedy than anything.

Jeff Bridges, as the Dude- Rooster Cogburn, nails the pain and heart that lies in a tough, tough man, while he helps little Mattie, played ably by Hailee Steinfeld, get her revenge. A surprisingly amusing performance comes from pancake head, Matt Damon, who gives us a LaBeouf that isn't fight annoying robots but instead is a somewhat corny Texas ranger.

19. Killer Clowns from Outer Space. 3/5. It is a funny and weird horror flick with interesting special effects but a really odd premise. Is is scary if you're scared of clowns? Hell yes. If not, the scariest line? "We don't want to hurt you David. We just want to kill you."

20. All-Star Superman. 4/5. This movie poses two questions. Why does the world need a Superman and what would Superman do if he knew he was dying. Both are answered, in full, in this great example of WB animation.

The voice acting performances, the story and the style of animation, much like from the Superman/Shazam flick, was superb and stand up against big budget live action film. I'd go far to say that this was my favorite superman film.

 21. Sorcerer's Apprentice. 2/5. Blame it on whiny Jay Baruchel and mediocre comedy for making this movie a pain to watch. The concept of the sorcerers, Merlinians vs. Morganians, etc. and the plot in general could've made a great movie but the tone they took ruined any chances for that.

Specifically, the PGification of this movie, with a tacked on romance subplot that literally irritated every moment that it was mentioned or seen(and it came up far too often). An especially irritating scene is when they "pay homage" to the original Mickey Mouse animation they ripped the title from by having Jay summon mops to clean up his place...before his girlfriend comes...and completely dilute the glorious visuals and tone of the original premise.

All in all, avoid this highly disappointing film and rent Fantasia on Bluray instead.

22. Astroboy. 4/5. A pleasant surprise- this family film is about a little boy robot who is half-Frankenstein, half-Pinnochio and half-Superboy. Based on the classic manga and cartoon character, created by legendary Osamu Tezuka, the film is a pleasant modern realization of Astro Boy in CG animation.

This movie bombed at the box office but I was very impressed by how the style was adapted to the world and how the film created a very stylyized and interested world of the future. The sci-fi themes presented of robot oppression, father/son relationships, Frankenstein monster, etc. were all done artfully and weren't beating the audience of the head.

In the end it is a cute feel-good movie that manages to come off as charming, despite its use of CG. Would it have been better with 2D animation? Certainly. Is it still worth a watch with the kids? Certainly.

23. Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. 2/5. It is a puzzling why Fox would pick up the Chronicles franchise from Disney, after the second movie bombed and make a third flick that, in retrospect was a bad idea. This movie is mediocre.

It especially fails in its pacing. At 2 hours long, most of the movie feels like padding, and the first half is far too drawn out, while the second act is far too fast. The special effects took a noticeable drop in quality from the first two films, as well, especially noticed in the effects created like the buildings, ships and anything large, (dragons, cough). All of the performances were perfectly acceptable but the way the characters were written was frustrating.

First, I would like to get the main pain out of the way, the cousin. The two younger siblings of the first two movies are heroes and are tagged along by a very obnoxious cousin. I wanted to see terrible things happen to him because he was more cynical than a movie critic! The other grating character decision was the way that Lucy, who was once a Queen for 100 years, acts like a self-conscious princess in the majority of the film.

In the end, the last straw is Aslan. While in the first two films, as in the books, it is obvious that he is an allegory for Jesus Christ, the new film oversteps its preaching. While I enjoyed the first movie, (the animated one and the disney one), I never felt like I was being beaten over the head with christian allegory, despite Aslan becoming a martyr and rising from the dead. In this film, Aslan basically lets slip he is in fact, GOD. I'm not sure whether its annoying or offensive but I certainly didn't find it enjoyable.

24. Basket Case. 1/5. Despite hopes that this supposed horror staple would be a "so-bad-it's good" scenario, the movie turned out to be anything but entertaining except for a few instances. In the end, I felt like the movie had wasted my time and even my horror movie buff friend, Zach Stanifer, was left thoroughly disappointed.

25. Thor: Tales of Asgard. 3/5. Marvel animation tends to pale in comparison to DC for one reason. Bruce Timm. The story was okay but the style was a little weak, especially when it came to women, who were drawn as if they have weird triangle fish lips....and so forth.

The movie isn't really anything to recommend, feeling rushed and awkward at times. I guess the real problem is that its a "Thor as a teenager" scenario and just like the gangly teenage design that he was given, this film just just doesn't leave much of an impression.

26. Social Network. 4/5. Sean Barnes likes this. What makes this movie work? The dialogue and the acting. What keeps it from being a classic or rewatch in my book? The story is basically your "behind the band" cliche flick, complete with two best friends, with one letting himself get caught up in the popularity and fame, getting lead astray and abandoning the other. Its clever but not genius.

The End.

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