Here’s a little song I wrote…
The Fabulist | Nathan Johnson, The Brothers Bloom
“if i could make you see more flame than flicker, these half-truths could be improved with less of me and more of you.”
Beautiful song during the credits of The Brothers Bloom.
Director: Andrew Niccol
Stars: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy
Set in a fictional near future the human species has mastered the ability to control the aging process where everyone does not age past twenty five as long as they have enough time. Justin Timberlake (Will Salas) is a hard working average male who is living with his mom (Olivia Wilde). Will saves a rich man from death by a group of thugs and is given over a century in time. With time he decides to cross the time zones, where the different classes are separated, and take down the system that keeps people down.
Talk about being relevant to the times. Take away the sci-fi and you find a story that could be the benchmark for the Occupy Wall Street protestors here in Houston. Will Salas has a plan to take down the company and finds a partner in crime in Amanda Seyfried (Sylvia Weis). Sylvia is the daughter of uber wealthy Philippe Weis. She is attracted to Will and finds his unique outlook on life as a way of pissing off her father. There’s a strong Bonnie and Clyde vibe going on with Will and Sylvia that I got when they began to rob the banks that manages the time needed to live. Even giving away the time to people in the ghetto and time zones. Robin Hood would have been so proud.
In a major city you find the hustle and bustle of everyday people and don’t think much of it. But when Sylvia watches Will run, the act revealed Will’s true identity among the rich. I found this very honest and raw with respect to the real world and how it works in much the same way. Those who have don’t feel rushed, and those who don’t have rush along. This one scene really brings home the fact that Will is fighting for something he truly believes in and made me believe as well.
Cillian Murphy (Raymond Leon) is a timekeeper whose job is to keep track of time being distributed among the people. In short he is basically the time police. When Will and Sylvia are robbing the banks of time, Raymond is sent to capture them and restore order. Murphy’s character was a tough one to figure out. On one hand he is a by the books kind of guy who built his way up. Yet on the other hand he is in the same situation as Will where time is not a luxury afforded to him either since timekeepers aren’t paid well.
The one constant throughout the movie were the number of time references/puns. It seemed like every exchange of conversation mentioned how much time they have or how time could not be wasted. In Time kept me entertained with both it’s witty dialogue and James Bond like action sequences that should be a movie to look for in theatres.
Director: Chris Miller
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton
Coming off the huge success of the Shrek movies, the lovable and yet deadly Puss in Boots gets his own movie to explain his origin tale. Set in the similar fantasy world as Shrek, Puss in Boots 3D is a great spin-off film that continues the laughs for the young, old and everyone in between.
Voiced by Antonio Banderas, Puss in Boots is like the “most interesting man in the world” from those Dos X’s commercials. Always a step ahead of everyone and somehow manages to be at the right place at the right time. However when Puss runs into a mysterious feline with his type of flair and talents, he is shocked to learn it is the stunning Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek). Almost immediately Puss is changed and turns into a gushy teenage boy flushed with love.
Humpty Alexander Dumpty is introduced as Puss’ childhood best friend when the two were orphans living in the same town. They become enamored with the idea of magic beans that can make them rich when used to climb a beanstalk and recover the golden eggs from a castle in the sky. This leads to Puss and Humpty becoming thieves and running into trouble with the law. They disappoint their foster mother Imelda who believes they are better than that. Puss is tricked into a bank robbery that forces him to leave the town that he loved.
As a kids movie there are some pretty grim characters like Jack and Jill that added a sense of scary that might be too much for young moviegoers. One scene where Jack shoots a patron (offscreen) of a hotel seemed a bit too much. Wielding a gun and being described as murderous villains doesn’t sound too nice or happy for a kids flick about animated kittens and geese.
In my opinion, 3D is best utilized when used with animated movie like Puss in Boots, and it does not disappoint. With a familiar character and a new story, Puss in Boots is a great family flick that could expand the fantasy universe that Shrek opened.
Director: Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost
Stars: Christopher Nicolas Smith, Lauren Bittner, Jessica Tyler Brown, Chloe Csengery
Paranormal Activity 3 continues the prequel to the series by taking the audience back to the beginnings of Katie and her younger sister Kristi with experiences of a demonic entity. The third film takes place in the late 80’s as Katie and Kristi are young girls. A couple new characters are introduced to the series. First are the parents of Katie and Kristi, Julie and Dennis. Dennis is self employed as a wedding videographer, and must be extremely expensive seeing as he purchased a new home while also providing for his family of four. But that’s besides the point. Julie is the mother who is a stay at home mom, as far as I can tell. She is the skeptic that doesn’t believe anything that Dennis brings to her as evidence.
The third installment is an origin tale of how the paranormal activity came about and in my honest opinion, does a very terrible job of building up the suspense. The opening scene shows us Katie, Kristi and her husband Daniel in the basement going through some boxes full of old pictures and clothes. While sifting through the boxes, they come upon some old VHS tapes. These tapes turn out to be old footage of Katie during her birthday party in 1989. Not sure what the significance is, maybe I missed it.
Anyways, these old VHS tapes take us back to when Dennis, Katie and Kristi’s stepfather, and Julie first move into their new home. After a couple days, the thing that brought us to watch this movie starts to happen. Now this was my first viewing of a Paranormal Activity movie in theatres, so I was excited/nervous about the reaction I was going to let go. There’s something about being freaked out with an audience that just makes it much more memorable. The cheap thrills were there, along with the truly shocking images that were not shown in the trailer, which is very satisfying to me personally.
Kristi befriends an invisible friend that no one can see but her and with the recent awkward situations, Dennis sets up his VHS recording cameras to capture whatever might be going on. Dennis has a friend/coworker that helps him named Randy. Randy is a young guy who just so happens to mention the “Bloody Mary” dare that is overheard by Katie. So, one night while taking care of Katie, Dennis is coaxed into performing the dare. Bad move.
If you are looking for more of the same from the first two movies you won’t be disappointed. New directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost from Catfish fame, do a respectable job. However, fans looking for a shocking conclusion may be disappointed with the reveal. I would not be surprised to see this series push out more movies every Halloween. Go see it and have some fun getting scared. Happy Halloween!
Director: George Clooney
Stars: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei
The Ides of March is a political thriller that follows Stephen (Ryan Gosling), a bright young campaign advisor, during his work with potential presidential candidate Gov. Mike Morris (George Clooney). Also working on Gov Morris’ campaign is Paul Tara (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the senior campaign advisor for Gov. Morris and Stephen’s mentor. With the Ohio primary only days away, Stephen begins to see the dirty underbelly of politics that has him right in the middle.
Stephen truly believes in Gov. Morris and is betting his life that Morris will win the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. However, when Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) calls Stephen to reveal some disturbing news to Gov Morris’ campaign, Stephen’s life begins a downward spiral that can only end with his candidate losing the election.
With so many scandals painting the newspapers and blogs online nowadays, Ides of March takes a page from any one of those stories, and adds a bit of flair for the dramatic to create a thrilling drama that truly impresses. The all star cast takes Ides of March up another level with so many wonderful scenes of honest dialogue. Taking a topic most people find boring and turning it into an attention grabbing thriller is a feat upon itself. George Clooney achieves a great feat with this film and I’m looking forward to his next project.
Director: Shawn Levy
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo
Real Steel is the real deal. Set in the near future, Hugh Jackman plays Charlie Kenton, a runaway father who is in financial trouble after losing his last fighting robot to a bull. That’s right, a robot fighting a bull. Of course the only place you would expect a bull fighting a robot would be right here in Texas! Charlie finds out his ex-wife has died and must return home to sign over custody of his son to his wealthy sister-in-law.
Charlie is given custody of his son Max, played by Dakota Goyo, and is not the typical father figure for him. Charlie is still an immature and selfish person who only thinks of himself before others. So when his former sister-in-law wants to gain full custody of Max, Charlie finds this as an opportunity of financial gain. $100,000 gain. Again, not your typical father figure.
Charlie is given Max for the next month until his new guardians are back from their trip to Tuscani. Charlie buys a new robot Noisy Boy and immediately takes him to a fighting club and loses.
The relationship between Charlie and his son Max is one of the big draws on the hearts of the audience. A young boy trying to reconnect with his father through robot boxing is unorthodox, however very real. It’s like a father and son going to a baseball game and the young boy is carrying that huge baseball glove. Max and Charlie often engage in witty banter back and forth that you sometimes forget they are father and son. They tend to act like two brothers attempting to outdo the other for bragging rights. Very funny.
The other draw is the great underdog story that comes from the fighting robot known as Atom. During a run to find spare parts for the broken down robot Noisy Boy, Max literally falls upon Atom after an almost fatal slip at a junkyard. Known as a second generation sparing robot, built only to use for training, Atom is cleaned up by Max and is given a second chance at life. Although Max’s heart is in Atom, his ability to make him a real boxing robot is left up to his dad Charlie. With Atom, Charlie and Max find a common interest they share and develop the relationship Max has wanted. With Atom’s ability to absorb tremendous amounts of damage, and Charlie’s boxing talent, they take Atom to the WRB (World Robot Boxing) league.
This movie really surprised me by the two storylines that run deep and connected with me. I found myself jumping in my seat with every hit Atom took and every shot he landed. I even found myself cheering after every victory. This is a feel good movie that will have you leaving the theatre with a smile on your face.
The show’s founders, Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht, say they’re ready for other pursuits after six years.
movie pick of the week: good will hunting
Director: Rod Lurie
Stars: Kate Bosworth, James Marsden, James Woods and Alexander Skarsgard
The worst thing a thriller movie can do is not be thrilling. Straw Dogs is one of those movies. Even the accompanying music to add suspense failed to get me feeling uneasy and the moment of surprise to get me to jump was flat. Straw Dogs takes its time in setting up the anxiety, however it fails to give a veritable reason why the characters react the way they do. For example, David and Amy Sumner (Marsden and Bosworth) find the house cat hanged to death in their closet. It’s immediately suspected that the locals are to blame because of their dislike for David. This really didn’t add up. To go from disliking David with condescending comments all the way to murdering the house cat was a bit of a leap. Not to mention they were working on his garage roof in the countryside with the nearest neighbor a couple miles away.
Other subplots/stories in the movie are shown but at the end are given no resolution leaving you wondering what happened to certain characters and what the repercussions were. There is nothing more annoying than watching a movie and having loose ends.
I really enjoyed Bosworth and her ability to feel like a southern belle. She has the look to make her character seamlessly blend in with the setting but also stand out. Marsden gives a good performance as the city boy who writes movie scripts. As David Sumner, he provides some good comic moments that really went off with the crowd. There were some moments I did not find funny, however the crowd at the screening seemed to think it was funny. Not sure if I missed something, but it could have been just the way Marsden delivered his lines or body language.
The Straw Dogs title really does it justice. I knew nothing about what to expect and really didn’t get anything from it. Consider this movie a pass and wait until the Halloween movies come out for better thrills and scares.
I’ve had a few different friends ask me about what I think about 3D tvs and if they should jump on the bandwagon of early adopters. The excitement of owning a new technology is something I’ve personally experienced and in hind site regret (those LCD tvs were so thin!). So I’ve come up with a couple different reasons why you should not buy a 3D tv.
Reason #1 You STILL need to wear those glasses!
I don’t mind putting on a pair of 3D glasses at the theatre, it adds a bit of nostalgia to the cinematic experience. It comes with the fun of going to the movie theatre. But that fun ends with 3D when I’m sitting at home watching a movie being lazy and trying to find those damn glasses! Not to mention they cost around at least $50 a pop. Granted those costs will come down as all tech eventually does, but it’s absurd to pay so much for accessories that only provide a single function. For those who wear glasses as is, it’s annoying trying to adjust the 3D glasses in order find the right comfort for viewing a movie or tv for extended periods of time. This argument only applies to those who wear sight seeing glasses, but that’s still a large number of people.
I’d rather wait until the technology gets to the point where glasses are no longer needed and the display is capable of projecting 3D images on its own. I might be waiting for awhile, but hey, look at the Nintendo 3DS. Sure the 3DS didn’t have a successful debut, but it did provide 3D gaming without glasses. Never mind that it has a terrible viewing angle or gives some users headaches after long periods of use, but hey I’ll leave that up to another blog post.
Reason #2 It feels like a gimmick
Honestly I thought 3D would be a real game changer, but that quickly dissolved into a realization that 3D is just something tacked on by companies to milk you out of more of your money. Movie companies add a 3D tag to proven franchises like Harry Potter, Toy Story, and Shrek just to get that extra $5 because they know you’ll spend more on a film that you have an attachment to. And now they have begun to reimagine past films like The Lion King, Titanic, and the already released Toy Story series.
Besides Avatar, there has not been a movie that demands to be watched in 3D. Simply adding 3D to the end of a movie isn’t going to make me want to watch it.
For those early adopters who just need to have the latest technology, there’s nothing I can write that will change your minds. Yet for those who are looking for a new tv and are reading this before you go out and purchase a new set, hopefully you agree with what I said and wait until 3D is the next color tv or HD tv must have. Until then, just go with a bigger tv!