Friday, December 26, 2008

Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

It has often been said that youth is wasted on the young. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button shows us what it would be like if it weren't. The film follows a man named, of course, Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt), who was born with the body of an eighty-year-old man. He father, horrified, abandons him on the doorstep of a rest home for the elderly, where his adopted by Queenie (Taraji P. Henson), the caretaker. Benjamin is thought to have some unknown condition or disease, and the baffled doctors are sure he's dying. Miraculously, the child grows consistently healthier, and years later it becomes apparent that Benjamin is aging in reverse, becoming younger instead of older. While he is still a child, he meets a girl named Daisy (Cate Blanchett) who will soon become the love of his life. And this from there we follow the entire life of this extraordinary man as he tries to learn to live in a world were everyone's going in the opposite direction he is.

The Pros: When I first heard about this film, I was unbelievably excited. Not only did it have a genuinely talented cast, but it was directed by David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club), and the screenplay was written by Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Ali). Add the fact that it was a truly original idea, and you have a film that has the potential to be amazing. However, I probably set my hopes a little to high, because the film didn't quite live up to my expectations too high, because the film didn't quite live up to my expectations. Nonetheless, it was still a fantastic film. And to my surprise, the most impressive aspect was the script or the actors. It was the special effects. And I don't mean empty, flashy, George Lucas special effects. These are real, subtle but astounding, special effects. Many different methods have been used in the past to make actors appear older or younger, using both makeup and CGI, and they've evolved over the years. But never has the transformation been this seamless. You never have a clue how much is digitally-based, and how much is makeup. This film is truly a landmark in visual effects. We can only hope that X-Men Origins: Magneto does as well de-aging Ian McKellen.

Unlike Forrest Gump, however, this film is actually quite cynical. As we see Benjamin rise from the helplessness of old age, only to descend into infancy and forget his former life, the grim moral of the film becomes clear. As Cate Blanchett's character says, no matter what we all end up in diapers. But despite this cynicism, it still has sweet moments, and is regardless a well-crafted story.

The Cons: As good as the script is, ultimately, it falls short of the brilliance of Forrest Gump. I was surprisingly disappointed with the performance of Brad Pitt, who never managed to rise above adequate.

The End: Despite my minor disappointment, this is truly one of the best films of the year, and should definitely show up on a lot of top ten lists. It's not top five material, but it definitely worthy on the top ten, and definitely deserves a Oscar for visual effects and/or cinematography.

Overall, I give The Curious Case of Benjamin Button a Gold Anarchy Coin.

Click here to visit the official website for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Movie Review: Gran Torino

Finally, it's finished. My review for Gran Torino is here, plus a little tribute to the man himself, Clint Eastwood.

(NOTE: I mistakenly refer to Clint Eastwood as a Vietnam Veteran in the review, and to the Asian characters as Vietnamese immigrants. It was only after the review was made and uploaded that I realized my mistake: he was a veteran of the Korean War, and the Asians were Hmong.)

Find more videos like this on The Movie Community

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Movie Review: Seven Pounds

If my voice sounds bad, I apologize, I was really tired when I recorded this. Here's my review for Seven Pounds.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Movie Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still

Sorry this took so long to get up. Here's my review for the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Movie Review: Punisher: War Zone

You requested it, here it is: my review for Punisher: War Zone.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Movie Review: Twilight

Took me a while to get to this one. Here's my review for the Twilight movie.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Movie Review: Bolt

Disney's latest animated feature is now in theaters. Here's my review.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Movie Review: Special

"A very select group of people in life are truly gifted. Special is a movie about everyone else." This is the tag line to the independent film Special, starring the tragically underrated Michael Rapaport. Rapaport plays a timid meter maid named Les Franken, who enlists in a drug study for a new antidepressant called Specioprin Hydrochloride, or Special. The drug inadvertently gives Les hallucinations, causing him to believe he has superpowers, including telepathy, levitation, and the ability to walk through walls. He decides to become a superhero, using the logo for the drug as his emblem. Unfortunately, most of the "crimes" he stop were also hallucinated, and all he's doing is tackling innocent people on the street. Add to this that the drug company isn't happy about some loon roaming the streets attacking people while wearing their logo, and are determined to get rid of Les...even if it means killing him. Can Les's friends convince him that he's imagining things before he gets in serious trouble?

The Pros: Earlier this year, a little film you might have heard of, Hancock, purported the be the anti-superhero film. It claimed to present a hero that was everything a superhero wasn't, to break all the comic book rules and be something truly original. And it was...for about 45 minutes. But if you saw the film, you know that halfway through, the film took an unexpected nose dive into the standard cliche, becoming exactly what it said it wouldn't be. Special is, in my opinion, everything Hancock should have been. I'm not saying the story concept was any better than Hancock's, nor the casting, nor the effects. But Special had one thing Hancock didn't: Consistency. It takes a wholly original concept and sticks with it. It knew where it was going, where it would end up, and it never strayed from that path. If only I could've said the same about Hancock, it could have been one of the greatest superhero films ever made.

The tone of Special is hard to describe. At times it is depressing, and at times it is heartwarming. Ultimately this is a film about self-worth. It follows a wholly ordinary man, more identifiable than even Peter Parker ever was. He's an meek but likable person who feels, as I think most people do, that life is passing him by. He spends his free time reading comic books, and dreaming about how wonderful it would be to be able to do something important, something extraordinary. We instantly acclimate to Les, and his desire to be, well, special.

We've seen this setup before. We've seen Luke Skywalker on the boring Ranch, dreaming about adventures in space. We've seen Rocky Balboa duke it out in the slums, hoping to hit it big as a boxer. We've seen characters long for something better. And we all know what happens next. Something amazing happens that takes them on a fantastic journey where they ultimately get their wish. But not in this film. Here, our hero only thinks that it's happening. It's all an illusion. And that's not a twist, we're told that from the get go. And while it may be at times laughable to watch Les run into walls convinced he's running through them, we're also painfully aware of the last that Les's has merely the illusion of happiness.

But unlike Luke Skywalker, Rocky Balboa, or Peter Parker before him, Les is not a ordinary man who becomes extraordinary. Les is and extraordinary man who realizes that he is extraordinary. He realizes that he doesn't need to be a to fly faster than a speeding bullet, or leap tall buildings in a single bound. He may not have superpowers, but his experience brings out qualities in himself that he never knew he had: courage, determination, selflessness. Les is a caring, compassionate person, with friends who care. And that alone, makes him truly special.

That is the heart of Special. It may be an old lesson, but it's one we need to be reminded of every now and then. It's been pointed out that the old phrase "everyone's special" really means no one is. And the truly exceptional thing about this film is that is actually addresses that. In a way the whole film is about addressing that criticism. There's even a point near the end where you think that's the ultimate message of the film, that no one's special. But without spoiling anything, let me assure you, the film ends one an subtle but uplifting note. Without saying a word, this film quietly gets it's point across, in a way that's the complete opposite of preachy and in-your-face.

As I said before Michael Rapaport is a criminally overlooked talent in film and television, and he really is what makes this film work. He's so believable and real. He truly embodies his character, at times making this audience laugh and cry all at once. On a side note it's good too see Josh Peck in this, doing real work instead of that schlock known as Drake & Josh.

The Cons: The only real faults to be found in this movie were no fault of the filmmakers. As is too often with independent films, the budget here is limited, and it shows. While they are clever enough to keep it from being too painfully obvious, it still is noticeable. Though honestly, depending on you, that may not be a bad thing. There's a certain charm to small indie flicks, and Special certainly has that.

The End: This film deserves more attention, just as it's star does. It more than fills the void left by the failure of Hancock. Not only do I consider this one of the best films of the year, but I'm seriously considering giving it a spot on my top ten list. This is not a money-driven Hollywood blockbuster with all the trimmings, it's something more. It's a true film, a piece of art made by people who love their craft and make do with what they have. And they make it well.

Overall, I give Special a Gold Anarchy Coin.

Click here to visit the official website for Special.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Movie Review: Quantum of Solace

Bond film #22 gets its U.S. release tomorrow. Here's my review.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top Ten Movie Spies

James Bond's latest adventure Quantum of Solace, is almost here (why do these titles never make sense?) While we wait this this spy spectacular, I thought it'd be fun to compile a list of my Top 10 secret agents in cinema history (with the exception of Bond, we all know he's the best).

10. Vin Diesel as Xander Cage in xXx

Yeah, I know this movie wasn't that great. What do you expect when Vin Diesel is your star? But I gotta give this movie credit for at least trying something different. They basically took ever spy cliche in the book and reversed them, kinda like Hancock did for superheroes. Instead of a suave sophisticated British guy, Xander Cage was a crude, anti-establishment American thug. Maybe it's just the anarchist in me, but I had fun with this movie.

I'm sorry, I couldn't help it. I had to include this one, I just had too. Sure it was a lame, campy TV movie. Sure it was corny as all hell. And it was so damn awesome! This baby's one of my favorite guilty pleasures. It's sheer, explosive B-movie fun, not to mention it was written by David S. Goyer (a.k.a. the guy who wrote The Dark Knight). Forget that Sam Jackson stuff, Marvel, The Hoff is your Nick Fury.

8. Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara as Carmen & Juni Cortez in Spy Kids

Robert Rodriguez is famous (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) for making intentionally bad movies as homages to old films. But anyone who says that's all he does has forgotten Spy Kids. I'm not saying this film is a masterpiece any any means, but I will say it's one of the most visually creative children's films since Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The story may be old an cliche, but great actors combined this killer set pieces make for one wild ride.

7. Mike Myers as Austin Powers in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

The sequels may have been awful, but this first one was pretty damn funny. It's really hard to come of with an original spy spoof, since it mostly all been done before, but Mike Myers came of with the bright idea to mix with usual James Bond parody with the psychedelic vibe of the 60's. It's a bizarre, over-the-top combination, but it works, and Mike Myers performance make it knock-down-drag-out hilarious. Not to mention he gave us a near-nude Elizabeth Hurley.

6. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Harry Tasker in True Lies

Schwarzenegger may not be much of an actor, but man does the dude know how to blow stuff up! Harry Tasker acted more like Rambo than James Bond. Why settle for a pistol when you can sport an RPG? Why drive an Aston Martin why you can fly a fighter jet? And let's not forget that he made the scream queen, Jamie Lee Curtis, do a striptease.

5. Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible

I'm not the biggest Tom Cruise fan, but this movie was just too friggin' cool. So often movies based on TV shows are absolute crap. Mission: Impossible was the exception. And since the characters aren't from the series, the film stands on it's own. Sure, Ethan Hunt became just another American ripoff of James Bond in the sequels progressed, but in it was a thrilling suicide mission story, with a great twist ending to boot.

4. Cary Grant as T. R. Devlin in Notorious

Though not really a spy film, this movie was amazing, and my personal favorite of Alfred Hitchcock's works. Cary Grant is perfect in this movie, as was his adversary, the always excellent Claude Rains. Though Devlin may not actually fight anybody, you know he could kick your ass any minute. Besides, James Bond never nailed a woman like Ingrid Bergman.

3. Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan in Patriot Games

Alec Baldwin may have been the first Jack Ryan, but Harrison Ford was definitely the best. As if being Han Solo and Indiana Jones wasn't enough, he had to go and become a super spy too. Going up against the always sinister Sean Bean, Ford proved once again why is is one of the greatest action stars ever. Add James Earl Jones and Samuel L. Jackson too the mix, and you've got one badass spy thriller.

2. Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity

Though I do think the Bourne films are a tad overrated, Jason Bourne is still very cool. The first film especially was very smart and well-made espionage thriller/mystery. Aside from the whole brainwashing thing, Jason Bourne is one of the most realistic spies on film. He doesn't have a laser in his watch or a submersible car, no Q to supply his every need, just his own skills and resourcefulness.

1. Clint Eastwood as Frank Horrigan in In the Line of Fire

Why? Two reasons: 1. Nobody was expecting this choice, and 2. it's Clint @#$%ing Eastwood! Even at the rip old age of 63 this guy still kicked ass, and bedded Rene Russo. Playing a Secret Service agent out to protect the President for a psychopath, Clint Eastwood never had too face a foe as insane as John Malchovich before this. Though I gotta wonder why he'd wanna risk his life for a politician?

Honorable Mention: Don Adams as Maxwell Smart in Get Smart, Again!

The reason I'm only giving this an honorable mention is because the actual TV movie wasn't very good, just a rehash of old jokes ans plots for the TV series. But Get Smart was one of my favorite TV shows of all time, and I just had to mention it. The series wasn't the greatest spoof ever, but it's one of my favorite Mel Brooks creations, and Don Adams made the lamest jokes hilarious. And no, I didn't consider give the new Get Smart movie a spot on the list, it was dreck. It disrespected and ignored everything that made the show good. May Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway rot in hell for their basterdization of those characters.

Bonus: A special no-prize too the first person to tell me how many times I used the name "James Bond" in this blog without looking back.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Movie Review: House

Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti's novel has been given the big screen treatment. Here's my review.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Man Who could Replace Christopher Nolan

You don't need me too tell you what a brilliant director Christopher Nolan is, you know that already. He's taken the dying Batman franchise and transformed it beyond our wildest dreams, simply by looking at it as a film, not a comic book film. It would definitely be tragic if Christopher Nolan were to leave the Batman film series, especially since Warner Bros. would be sure to continue without him. But let's think about this. If the worst were to happen and Nolan, for whatever reason, didn't direct Batman 3, who would be the next best choice? Many would say that Nolan is irreplaceable, and that anyone else at the helm would be disastrous. However, I believe there is someone who could fill Nolan's shoes, someone who can tell a brilliant story worthy of the Nolan films: Aaron Schoenke (pictured below, left).

You probably haven't heard of him, but believe me, you don't know what you're missing out on. He's a independent filmmaker working for a small production company in California called Bat in the Sun. He's written and directed a number of fan films based on the Batman comics, including Dark Justice, Batman Legends, and Patient J. But don't mistake the term "fan film" to mean poor quality. These films are all well filmed, written, and acted, especially considering the limited budget. Dark Justice and Batman Legends are fairly short simple films, but it's in Patient J that his potential truly becomes apparent.

"Fan film" barely applies to this one. Patient J is a brilliantly written psychological story revolving around the Joker. And when I say brilliant, I'm not exaggerating. Patient J is The Killing Joke good; The Dark Knight Returns good. It' just as intriguing and twisted as any Joker story ever written. And not only is it well-written, but it's well-cast. Actor Paul Molnar (pictured above, right) portrays the Joker, and while his depiction of closer the the comic book version than Heath Ledger's performance, it's easily better than Jack Nicholson. I would never advocate replacing the late Ledger, at least not this early, but I just might be willing to give Molnar a shot. His performance is priceless. He resembles the comic book Joker down the the finest detail, the expressions, the voice, the laugh, everything. It's as though the character just walked off the comic book pages.

Now I don't want to give the impression that I want Christopher Nolan replaced. I want Nolan to stay as long as he's willing. But in the unfortunate, and unlikely, event that he doesn't return, Aaron Schoenke is possibly the only other filmmaker on the planet that I would entrust with the responsibility. I truly hope Schoenke one day gets his shot a being a major Hollywood director. After seeing what he's done with what he has, I can only imagine what he'd do with multi-million dollar budgets at his disposal.

If you're still in doubt as to Schoenke's talents, check out Patient J yourself.

What about you? Do you think Aaron Schoenke would make a good director for a Batman sequel? What other directors would you chose should Christopher Nolan chose to leave the project?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Movie Review: Max Payne

Well, looks like it's time for another cinematic video game adaption (at least Uwe Boll isn't directing this one). This time it's the 2001 game Max Payne, a third-person shooter inspired by the Hong Kong action film genre. Like the game the film version of Max Payne centers around the character of the same name (Mark Wahlberg), a cop whose family was killed by junkies on some kind of super-drug called Valkyr. As a result, Payne has become cynical and antisocial, and is obsessed with taking down everyone connected with the drug. joined by an assassin named Mona Sax (Mila Kunis), looking to avenge her sisters death, thanks also going to Valkyr. As they slowly unravel the origin of the mysterious drug, Max battles his inner demons and confronts the reality of his loss.

The Pros: Video game movies have not had much of a proud history, and Max Payne is not going to break that pattern. Though honestly, it's no worse than any other game adaption either. I've seen a number of reviews of this movie that sounded angry or disappointed. Seriously, what were you expecting? The reason video games don't make good movies is because they were never meant as story-telling mediums. The plots are there simply to string together a series of fights and/or challenges for the player. Now I realize that there are plenty of games with good story lines that would make great films, so eventually a video game film will pleasantly surprise me, but until then, I have zero expectations for these films. Which I why I don't hate this film like others. Sure, it wasn't good, but I wasn't expecting it to be, so I enjoyed it for what it was. The acting and writing wasn't terrible, certainly not good, but not as terrible as has been said. And there was definitely some beautiful set pieces and action.

The Cons: OK, now that I'm done defending this film, it's time to get serious. Why I expected this film to be bad, that doesn't change the fact that is was pretty bad. As you've probably expected the story is nothing special. We've seen this movie done a thousand time before, and done so much better. I already said the acting a writing didn't bother me, but it was still only adequate. But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was that this movie has surprisingly little action. After seeing the trailer, I was under the impression that this film would be more or less non stop gunfights and bullet time. And I would have been fine with that. But the trailer lied. This movie has a grand total of three action scenes (depending on what you count as action), and none of them last more than two minutes, except the finale. The film isn't well-written enough to be a deep, and it's not action-packed to be exciting, to it Ultimately has very little to offer.

The Rest: BTW, was I the only one who found it impossible to take Mila Kunis seriously as a bad@$$ assassin? Seriously, she doesn't look the least bit dangerous. I just can't look at her without thinking of That 70's Show.

The End: As I said, I came into this film, expecting absolutely nothing. And while I wasn't disappointed, I wasn't surprised either. This is a movie filmed with missed opportunities, it could've been worse, but it could've been better. As you've gathered by now, this it's hardly worth seeing in the theatre. Wait until it comes to DVD and rent it sometime when you're bored and have see the better stuff a thousand times.

Overall, I give Max Payne a Copper Anarchy Coin.

Click here to visit the official site for Max Payne.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Movie Review: Eagle Eye

Well, Shia LaBeouf is at it again, eager to show off his newly grown facial hair (I think it's supposed to be a beard). Teaming up once again with the same director that brought us Disturbia, he's now moved on to a political thriller. Eagle Eye tells the story of two ordinary people, a slacker named Jerry Shaw (LaBeouf), and a single mom named Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan). Both suddenly receive a mysterious phone call telling them that they have been "activated", which apparently doesn't mean aroused. The mysterious caller kept in contact with both of them, and is somehow able to control electronics such as computers, cell phones, traffic lights, and vehicles. She brings them together and forces them to commit a series of terrorist acts, framing them as traitors to the United States. And so begins the chase as Jerry & Rachel have to outwit their mysterious tormentor ans clear their names.

The Pros: If you liked movies like WarGames or Enemy of the State, this is should entertain you. This film's best quality is definitely the "thriller" part. It's fast-paced, practically hits the ground running and never really slows up. It's definitely exciting enough the keep you on the edge of your set, and the action scenes, while highly implausible, are well done. While there is some social commentary here, this film is not very heavy on the political part, which may not necessarily be a bad thing, depending on the viewer.

The Cons: This movie relies heavily on fast-paced adrenaline-rushing action; in fact too much. The characters have little to no time to develop before they are thrown headlong into this adventure. As I said, the action is pretty implausible, even though the pacing generally covers that pretty well.

The End: I gotta admit, when I first read the plot for the movie, I thought it was a comedy. What kind of spy thriller teams up a 20-something slacker and a single mom? I half expected them to hook up at the end of the movie. Which would be really weird, considering Michelle Monaghan is ten years older that Shia LaBeouf. Man, she's really robbing the cradle there. But lo and behold, it was not a comedy, nor did it unintentionally come off as one. It was a fun, exciting ride that probably should have been released as a summer film. And while the film isn't that deep, it is enough to make you question our dependence on technology just a little. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm logging off now before my computer starts giving orders.

Overall, I give Eagle Eye a Bronze Anarchy Coin.

Click here to visit the official website for Eagle Eye.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Movie Review: RocknRolla

English director Guy Ritchie is known for crime films, so it's no surprise when seeing his latest creation, RocknRolla, to find that is revolves around the British underworld. London gangster and real estate tycoon Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) is making a deal with a Russian billionaire (Karel Roden). To seal the deal, the Russian loans Lenny his prized "lucky" painting. Unfortunately for Lenny, the painting is stolen by his stepson, a crackhead missing-presumed-dead rock star named Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell), the titled RocknRolla. Meanwhile, the Russian's personal accountant Stella (Thandie Newton), is bored and looking for excitement, and hired a trio of gangsters called the Wild Bunch (Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, & Tom Hardy), to help her steal from her boss. Ultimately, they all explosively collide, everybody trying to claim their fortune.

The Pros: This film isn't called RocknRolla for nothing. Just like the trailer, this film's soundtrack is filled with rock music various artists. The music is all but constant, even though RocknRoll has little to nothing to do with the plot. The dialogue is very well-written and witty, including lines like "there's no school like the old school, and I'm the @#$%ing headmaster".

The Cons: While the film is hardly boring, it's far from action packed. The violence is surprisingly tame a very infrequent. The first action scene occurs well over and hour in. And as hot as Thandie Newton is, all she does is stand around smoking and talking, with the exception of one 5-second sex scene where all we see is her face. The plot is a bit nonlinear and muddled, and the side plot with the Wild Bunch and Stella feels pretty unnecessary.

The End: "People ask the question...what's a RocknRolla? And I tell 'em - it's not about drugs, drums, and hospital drips, oh no. There's more there than that, my friend. We all like a bit of the good life - some the money, some the drugs, other the sex game, the glamour, or the fame. But a RocknRolla, oh, he's different. Why? Because a real RocknRolla wants the @#$%ing lot." These are the opening lines of the film, and they describe what's to come pretty well: a tale filled with dangerous characters that want it all. And while this is definitely Guy Ritchie's best work in a while, it's hardy Reservoir Dogs. It's an interesting Dark comedy, but ultimately promises more than it delivers. Ironically, this British film has gained better reviews here in the US than the UK. Though Guy Ritchie claims a sequel isn't certain, the ending of this film doesn't just hint at one, it explicitly names a sequel. So if Guy Ritchie gets his way, expect The Real RocknRolla before long.

My Rating:

Click here to visit the official website for RocknRolla.

Movie Review: Fireproof

From the same self-proclaimed "small church in Georgia" who brought us Facing the Giants, comes yet another Christian film, Fireproof, this time dealing with the subject of marriage. Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) is a decorated fireman who lives by an old fire fighter's motto: never leave you partner behind. But he's about to do just that in his marriage. His wife Catherine (Erin Bethea) have been married for ten years, but have drifted so far apart that they file for divorce. However, Caleb's father (Harris Malcom), unwilling to see a relationship fall apart so easily, convinces his son so try an experiment called "The Love Dare", a forty day challenge of showing love to one's spouse in order to "fireproof" the relationship. Caleb takes the dare, mainly for his dad and not his wife. But eventually he comes to realize he still loves his wife as God teaches him the true meaning of love and marriage. But is it too late to convince Catherine that he has truly changed?

The Pros: So often the biggest problem with Christian films is the writing. The dialogue is written stiffly, especially is the faith-related parts, and the characters sound as if they're reading from a Sunday school book. But while this film does still have that problem is a few areas, it's not nearly as bad as usual. They characters feel real and keep our interest. The humor is good, the acting believable, and the emotions are heartfelt.

Also, the makers of this film have obviously come a long way since Facing the Giants. Not only were the able to obtain a recognizable actor like Kirk Cameron, but they are able to afford bigger & better effects than last time. Speaking of Kirk Cameron, you have to admire him. It's clear he is not doing this for a paycheck or recognition, as this is still a small, independent film with a limited budget. He's here because he believes in the project, and as such gives a great performance.

The Cons: As I said, the dialogue still feels pretty scripted is some parts, though it's not as bad as it could have been. Aside from Kirk Cameron, none of the cast has any recognition, though they fill their roles well enough. As Christian films go, this one has zero subtlety. It's clearly made for the church-going crowd, so if that's not you, this is not your film.

The End: In comparison with other Christian films, this is definitely a step above the rest. It's much more well written and entertaining than most, and certainly pleases it's target audience. Hopefully we'll see more from the people, who, for a church, have proved capable filmmakers.

My Rating:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mad as Hell: V for Vendetta for Real

One of my favorite graphic novels is Alan Moore's V for Vendetta. It echoed all the frustration many must be feeling during the slow destruction of democracy in the UK. Alan Moore, who lived in Great Britain, wrote a compelling story that unfortunately bear an eerie resemblance to reality. It's seems they take another step toward socialism everyday. They banned guns. The violent crime rate went up. They rig traffic cams to monitor drivers like they were children. But surely they wouldn't resort to censorship, would they? Oh wait, yes they would.

Most of you remember the action film Wanted, which was released in theatres a few months ago. According to a recent news article, Britain's Advertising Standards Authority has banned several promotional posters from use in the UK, after receiving complaints that the posters glamorized firearms and violence. No duh.

Anyone else wish V would show up right about now? How many angry voices do you suppose it took to ward such censorship. Hundreds? Thousands, even? Nope. According to the article, only 17 complaint were filed concerning the posters. Yeah, you heard write. Count 'em, 17. Who mostly likely all can from the same snooty circle.
Just in case your not already shocked, let me give you an idea of how amazingly small that number is. The population of England (not including the rest of the UK) is roughly 50,762,900 people. Now, 17 is what percent of that? Hold on a sec, I need a bigger calculator. Man, I hate math.......OK, got it. 0.000033%. That's less than zero percent. So it's not exaggerating to say that literally nobody is offended by these posters.

So apparently is takes literally nothing to get something censored. Imagine if this had been applied to the recent Tropic Thunder controversy. The film would have never seen the light of day. They had hundreds of people complaining, when apparently it only takes seven-freaking-teen. Once again we have PC tyranny at it's worst. How can art and free expression prosper in a world where any overly sensitive whiner can shoot it down at will? It makes me mad as hell.

Just in case you haven't seen them, here's a few of the banned images:

Source: Yahoo News

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

News: Stallone as the Dark Knight?

Hey, hey, calm down! Christian Bale isn't going anywhere. However, Sylvester Stallone has just been named by Frank Miller as his first choice to portray Batman Sr. should his most successful graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns, ever get cinematic treatment. In a recent interview with the LA Times' Geoff Boucher, Miller was quoted as saying “Just that mouth of his, the scowl and the way it would look in a mask. I loved Rocky Balboa. This wounded warrior, that’s what Batman is in The Dark Knight Returns.”

Obviously, The Dark Knight Returns is the popular Batman graphic novel of them all, and for my money the best. The prospect of bringing it to the big screen definitely excites me. But I don't know about you, but when I picture such a movie in my head, the face I attach to Bruce Wayne isn't Stallone's. Don't get me wrong, he's one of my favorite stars of all time, he just doesn't seem to fit the role.

Geoff Boucher himself didn't seem too fond of the idea. “Put Stallone in a mask and you get Judge Dredd again," he later said, "and nobody wants that.” (personally I liked Judge Dredd, but I wouldn't waste time defending it.)

It's always been my dream to one day have a Dark Knight Returns movie with Clint Eastwood in the lead role. Sure he may be so old that major special effects and stuntmen use would be needed, but I still can't think of anybody even close, unless you want to wait 30 years for Christian Bale to grow old. I'm not saying I couldn't see Stallone as Batman. After all, he did two similar movies, Rocky Balboa & Rambo, that dealt with bitter aging fighters much like The Dark Knight Returns did with Batman. People haven't been too fond of Frank Miller lately, but I for one still have faith in him. The Spirit is one thing, but there's no way he could screw up The Dark Knight Returns. Could he?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Update: New Ratings System

If any of you read the reviews I put out in this blog, you know that I've been using a standard 10-point ratings system on movies. But lately I figured that it might help to have a more unique rating. So I played around with some stuff and came of my these new system. Instead of points, I'll be using something I like to call "Anarchy Coins". And I want to give credit to Fury the Film Fan, for the inspiration for this system. Check this out:

The Gold Anarchy Coin
This is obviously the highest rating. Five stars, a perfect 10. This is for films like The Dark Knight or WALL-E, that are amazingly good, and have the potential to endure as classics.

The Silver Anarchy Coin
Not a perfect film, but a great one. Worth seeing on the big screen at full price.

The Bronze Anarchy Coin
A decent film. See it at the theatre, but pay matinee price.

The Copper Anarchy Coin

Definately not a good film. Worth renting, but not worth going to the

The Black Spot of Anarchy

A horrible film. Like Meet the Spartans horrible. If you must see it, see edited for cable, while you do something worthwhile.