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Archive for August, 2010

Let the Right One In’s Trailer

August 30, 2010 Leave a comment

I just wanted the trailer for this, and it doesn’t make me want to see the movie at all.  However, having just seen the movie, and knowing that it was, in fact, excellent, I wonder why the trailer makes it look bad.  Is it the hashing back and forth?  Is it the fact that the features played up were the horror-genre ones?

Alternatively, many times there are great trailers for movies that turn out to be horrible.  Case in point, “The Last Airbender”.

I actually don’t remember the narrator’s voice being there when I saw the trailer, but regardless, it looks pretty awesome, doesn’t it?  So why was it so bad?  How did it get a 08% on Rotten Tomatoes?

Categories: Uncategorized

Not a video review.

August 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Apple attempts to start filming video reviews, but is interrupted by a text.  But for real, video reviews coming soon.

Categories: Video Reviews

Let the Right One In – Apple – 4.5/5

August 27, 2010 1 comment

The current swarm of vampire movies has really tainted what is otherwise a great genre of film.  When my friend Ryan recommended “Let the Right One In”, emphasizing that it was really different from other vampire movies (namely, the main vampire is a 12-year-old girl), I decided to give it a shot.  {I had purchased the book a while ago, but haven’t had time to read it.  Is it better to read a book first or watch the movie first?  Either way, you risk being disappointed.}

Oskar is a 12-year-old boy who lives with his mother; he is bullied by other students at school.  His new neighbor, Eli, moves in with a guardian.  There is something strange about her – she “smells funny” and says some weird things; she doesn’t know her birthday and has forgotten how to feel cold.  There is also something strange about Eli’s guardian – he serves Eli, but also asks things of her.

The strongest part of this film is the development of the relationship between Oskar and Eli.  They meet at a jungle gym in their apartment complex; they play with a Rubik’s cube and communicate through their apartment wall with Morse code. The actor and actress were chosen extremely well, and they did an excellent job portraying the characters.  Close shots of their faces, exhaling in cold winter air, seem so real, so natural in a childish awkwardness.

There was also something terribly cold about the bullying in this movie.  It was not the running and kung-fu from “The Karate Kid”, but rather something far more serious.  Oskar tries to stand up to the three boys who brutalize him, but the results might be more horrifying than the bullying itself.  Juxtaposed with the violence surrounding vampires, “Let the Right One In” is a fearless look at the scary age before true adolescence kicks in.

I hear there’s an American remake in the works, renamed “Let Me In”.  It’s to be directed by Matt Reeves, the guy behind “Cloverfield”.  Exciting: Chloë Moretz, who was Hit-Girl from “Kick-Ass”, will play the new Eli, renamed Abby.  But right now, I’m doubting the ability of the American film to live up to the elegance of “Let the Right One In”.

Overall – 4.5/5; beautifully filmed and excellent actors, a fresh look at vampirism and all the terrifying things that come with being a growing child.

Best regards,

Apple; http://appleandorion.com

Categories: Movie Reviews

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – Orion’s Take

August 27, 2010 1 comment

The weirdest part about this movie isn’t the fight scenes, or the curious personalities of each character, or even the visuals.  The weirdest part about this movie is the way you will feel at the end.

“Wait, do I like this movie or not?”

It’s a curious feeling, precisely because it’s so hard to pin down.  You want to like the movie.  I know I did.  But despite liking the movie, I couldn’t help but feel that this movie wasn’t that great.

Scott Pilgrim is your everyday 23-year-old, bass playing, crazy kung-fu wielding, heartbreaking young man.  His current girlfriend, (a 17-year-old Catholic high school student) is the latest in a series of “fake” girlfriends that he is keeping close in order to keep himself from sinking into the pits of utter despair, which results from a bad breakup that occurred a little more than a year ago.  His last “real” girlfriend is the lead singer of a band much awesomer than his own, and has even abandoned her old name in favor of the edgier “Envy.”  Things are fine until Scott has a dream about a roller-skating girl with pink hair.  Lo and behold, this roller-skater, a certain Ramona Flowers, soon enters his real life, at which point he is instantly infatuated.  Unfortunately, dating this woman requires a certain dedication, as apparently he must fight her seven deadly exes in order to stay in the relationship (or alive, for that matter).  Oh, and his band is also playing in an epic battle of the bands where the winner receives a contract with a major recording company.  And also, he hasn’t quite managed to break up with his girlfriend yet.

If this sounds like a lot, it’s because it is a lot.  One of the problems with this film is that there is simply too much to do.  Squeaking by at under 2 hours is hard when you have to set up seven battles (actually only six, since two exes are twins) and also set up character development.

However, something must be said for the battles themselves, which impress merely because they are at once absurd and amusing.  Scott Pilgrim fights, outwits, and destroys his competition with aplomb, managing to keep the viewer’s attention through six major fights.  Though it is sometimes very obvious when his stunt double enters, it is still amusing to watch this nerdy kid take on a legion of action star doubles, for example, or engage in a bass battle with a god-like vegan.

This movie is also quite funny.  There is a good range of jokes: there are raunchy jokes, bathroom jokes, clean(-ish) jokes.  The movie itself doesn’t take itself too seriously, pushing the boundaries of what the audience views the in-film world, and using these modified expectations to employ visual gags that set the theater laughing.

The weirdness of this movie comes in the sometimes very adult themes that arise in a world that is seemingly a pre-teen paradise.  The plot itself is almost noxiously sweet, filled with the kind of preachy morals that one might expect from a Disney sequel, but the characters that inhabit the plot are filled with very adult vices: sex, drinking, and cheating.  So what to make of this film as a whole?

Though I really did enjoy this movie (it’s a blast) I feel like the movie had too many flaws (one of them being an overly simple plot) that prevents it from being a really good movie.

3.5/5 Waffles

I Love Waffles,

-Orion

Categories: Movie Reviews

Impressions – Scott Pilgrim

August 25, 2010 Leave a comment

The previews/commercials we saw at Scott Pilgrim ranged from video games to horror movies, chick flicks to serious bio-dramas.  Since when did movie theatres start showing so many commercials in the period before previews?  We saw advertisements for “Metroid”, Selena Gomez’ line at Kmart, and a beautifully made one for Jeep Grand Cherokee.  We also saw these movies:

“You Again”

Apple: Jamie Lee Curtis vs. Sigourney Weaver.  Regardless of how silly this looks, that must be an interesting dynamic.  I love parallels, but still, mother and daughter both meet their high school bullies/rivals at their son/brother’s wedding?  2/5.

Orion: Uh…chick flick alert.  This movie trailer left so little impression I don’t even remember what it was about.  0/5

“Easy A”

Apple: A girl starts rumors about sleeping with guys, while not actually doing anything with them.  She is forced to wear the “A” from “The Scarlet Letter”, and deals with finding herself.  I don’t usually like how classics are updated, but I think this would be a cute high school movie.  Depending on how clever the screenwriters are, this could be smart or horrible. 3/5.

Orion: Actually, she isn’t forced to wear the “A”—she chooses to wear it as a way to throw it back in her tormentors’ faces.  I do think this could be humorous, depending on how tastefully (or not) the jokes are handled.  2.5/5

“Nowhere Boy”

Apple: The Beatles as kids!  Adorable, and certainly interesting.  The only worry I have would be getting bored during a long biopic.  Hopefully, there’d be enough movement to keep this historical story going.  4/5.

Orion: I really do want to go see this.  The idea is an intriguing one.  John Lennon has always held a certain kind of mystique that I feel this movie can explore in detail.  The topic is such that I will probably go see this, even if the actual movie gets bad reviews.  4/5

“Skyline”

Apple: Newscasters quote Stephen Hawking’s warnings about not contacting aliens, and then things fall out of the sky.  This looks dumb. 0/5.

Orion: I agree 100% with Lady Apple.  How many alien invasion movies can you possibly make before the idea gets stale? 0/5

“Devil”

Apple: A group of people gets stuck in an elevator, when strange things begin happening.  This looked interesting (albeit potentially too scary for me) until the name M. Night Shyamalan came onto the screen.  Sorry, man, but things have just been going downhill for you.  0/5.

Orion: This looks interesting.  Perhaps interesting enough to save M. Night Shyamalan from total destruction?  We will have to wait and see.  The trailer itself was tense enough to keep me engrossed throughout its entirety: hopefully the movie will be able to do that as well.  3/5.

Categories: Previews

Preview: The Raven

August 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Just something that caught my eye a while back.  It’s currently being made into a major motion picture.  Check it out.

Categories: Previews, Uncategorized

Scott Pilgrim – Apple – 4/5

August 22, 2010 1 comment

We weren’t able to see this last week, so today we showed up at the theatre extra early to ensure seats. After playing Metal Slug to pass the time, Orion and I settled down, looking forward to a well-rated movie.  Scott Pilgrim was flavorful and sweet like a delicious lemon crepe, but also felt thin and was somehow not filling (like a crepe).

Each character in Scott Pilgrim was personalized with exaggerated traits. This was both funny and memorable, but unfortunately, none of the characters got developed. (Ramona seems to pretty well fit the description of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, even going so far as to share ever-morphing hair color with Clementine from Eternal Sunshine.) For this reason, I would call Scott Pilgrim a film for children: it humors and entertains but lacks the complexities or dangers of a more mature film.

That’s not to say the movie wasn’t good – it really was. We laughed out loud throughout the movie, enjoying the jokes and comic scenes.  The film was so colorful, and stylistically very unique. There were so many video games references, I was unsure if the intended audience of the film was children or their parents who had played the original pixilated games.  Each battle scene has the typical ‘VS’ and ‘KO’ labels, with the zooming rush and comic book styled panels.  Very cute.

I think the biggest thing that keeps this film back is its simplicity.  Nothing really serious happens, although Scott is fighting for his life in duels with Ramona’s exes.  The deaths are rendered as video game points and coins; the exes are vanquished one by one by Scott, who inexplicably knows hand-to-hand combat.  Yet still, although the boundaries between life, video game, and comic book are constantly blurred, the audience had little trouble accepting the rules (or lack thereof).

Overall – 4/5; adorably dorky and filled with colorful characters, but lacking substance. Watch under a light condition.

Best regards,

Apple; http://appleandorion.com

Categories: Movie Reviews

The Expendables — Orion’s Take

August 16, 2010 Leave a comment

The perfect action movie?  Depends.  Do you like your action movies to be 60 percent action?  Do you like guns that are so big and so ridiculous that only the first Old Spice man, the one who invented Euro-training, can handle it?  Do you like your explosions to literally fill the screen?

Don’t bother looking for a plot.  I mean, there is one, but the whole point of this movie is to allow the ridiculously star-studded cast to kill large quantities of bad guys.  How many bad guys?  SOOO many bad guys.  Does this sound ridiculous yet?  Because it gets better.  So many people die in this film that if you were to pile the bodies in neat little rows, you could probably blanket a football field with corpses.  Oh, did I mention that the Expendables blow up everything?

At no point in the entire film do you feel like the main cast is in danger.  Sylvester Stallone’s muscles seem to taunt death and old age.  Jet Li is just too awesome to die.  And so it goes.  The body count keeps rising and rising and rising…and for a while you think that this movie might not be so bad.  It seems entertaining enough, it isn’t pretentious, and its humor does often work.

There are just two things that took the wind out of this movie’s sails.  First, there is one very good scene with Mickey Rourke that really intrigued me.  It’s strange: you don’t expect real acting in a movie like this, so when it comes, you are jolted out of that rush of adrenaline and suddenly realize what it is that’s happening.  The Expendables are killers for hire. They kill people.  With that realization, the taste of excitement went sour for me, if only for a little bit.  The second thing that tore me out of the moment was a very exploitative waterboarding scene that I felt had no place in this movie.  If you are an action movie making no political commentary, than this scene was just repulsive and unnecessary.  If you are trying to make a point, your point is invalidated by the scenes of wanton violence by the apparent heroes before this particularly brutal scene.

In any case, I couldn’t help but enjoy this movie.  What that says about me as a person, I’m not sure.  But I wouldn’t say this is a good movie.  It’s too enjoyable: it is fluff.  Good movies push the limits of the human mind, make you think in a way that is often painful.  This movie merely just vanishes into the recesses and leaves no mark.

3/5 Waffles

Love from Above,

- Orion

Categories: Movie Reviews

Impressions – Previews from “The Expendables”

August 15, 2010 Leave a comment

One of my favorite parts of going to the movies is getting to see previews.  I think previews are either something you love or you hate – people often budget the preview time as extra time to get to the movie.  This is a new type of post, (very creatively) called “Impressions”.  Orion and I will post our thoughts of a film based on its previews, and mark how excited we are to see the movie.  If we do later end up watching the movie, we will include brief remarks regarding its Impression.

Since we just watched “The Expendables”, we present our Impressions of its previews:

“The Town”

Apple: This looks really interesting!  I love Boston movies; I really liked “Gone Baby Gone” and of course, “The Departed”.  I’m not sure how the dynamics between the two leads will play out, but I’m excited to see Blake Lively, who I thought did a great job in the first few episodes of Gossip Girl.  4/5 “want to sees”.

Orion: I want to see this.  I love Ben Affleck (even though he butchered his part in Daredevil) and I love stories with lots of emotional interplay.  I’m looking forward to this one.  4/5

“The Last Exorcism”

Apple: I dislike supernatural plots, scary movies, and exorcism films.  0/5 “want to sees”.

Update: I just saw the viral campaign for this movie – it’s through Chatroulette, of a pretty girl who turns into a nasty monster!  Viral marketing is always interesting, and something I like.  Not that I want to see the movie now, but at least I have higher expectations for it.

Orion: Though I don’t mind scary movies, I dislike those that are ruthlessly manipulative in their attempts to shock the viewer (like the Saw series, for example).  This unimaginative movie looks to fail both in the thrill and the smart categories.  0/5.

“Tron”

Apple: This looks interesting, especially with the glowing suits.  It also looks really cheesy.  2.5/5.

Orion: OMG SHINY, OLIVIA WILDE AND A CHEESY STORY!  A MUST-SEE!  4/5.

“The Green Hornet”

Apple: Does Kato seem like he’d be a double agent?  Looks like lots of action, but not so interesting. 2/5.

Orion: Uh, excuse me, but do you not see rocket launchers on cars?  Funny masks and an Asian lead actor who oozes sarcasm?  +1 for being based on an older comic book.  4/5

“Buried”

Apple: This seems like a really interesting idea!  A man is buried, and then complications arise; the plot moves with apparently little physical movement of the main character.  I expect this movie to likely be filled with flashbacks and action from the other side of the phone line.  But would it really be enough to drive the movie? 2/5.

Orion: Claustrophobic, in a good way.  I am interested in seeing how this movie might play out.  I actually think the filmmaker might try to leave as much of the action in the coffin as possible.  I’d definitely be willing to see this film.  3/5

Do you guys think any of these look interesting?  If we were to see one, which one should it be?

Categories: Previews

The Expendables – Apple – 3/5

August 14, 2010 1 comment

Based on Poll Results, Orion and I headed to the theatre today to see “Scott Pilgrim”.  Alas, the showing was sold out, so we went for “The Expendables” instead.  I’ve always loved Sylvester Stallone, and so was not so disappointed when our original plan fell through.

Let me just say that this movie was action packed and ridiculous.  I’ve heard it described as aiming to be a throwback to the 80s, with tons of killing and violence.  As a kid, my dad watched this kind of movie on TV all the time, and I grew up with Arnold Schwarzenegger; I love this kind of movie.

The crowd that we watched “The Expendables” with was excited and active, cheering at explosions and things of that nature.  I think what made it good was the fact that it set out to do something, and it did that something well: as a movie, it made fun of itself, while at the same time, played up those traits.  There was clever dialogue addressing Schwarzenegger and his political career, as well as talk of Jet Li’s shorter stature.

One thing that bothered me about this was the messiness.  The problem with having too many big characters is that it becomes difficult for one character to back down gracefully.  Luckily, here, Stallone is the leader of his own group, who pretty much listen to him.  Another thing – when a character decides to become a better person, he should be allowed to carry out his change of heart; here, there was so much fighting that these character dynamics were washed out and left unfinished.  The car chase was also boring.

At the same time, “The Expendables” was not completely disorganized.  Planning must have gone into the imagery – looking closely, the image of a crow is present at several points throughout the movie.  The symbol of the Expendables is a crow on a skull; the plane they fly shows a bird atop a globe; the picture painted by Sandra shows a woman with a bird.

(As a side note, did the scene with Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis seem like it didn’t include all three?  It looked to me like all the flipping back and forth was from them trying to make it seem like all three were there, when they were in fact, not.  Let me know what you guys think.)

Overall – 3/5; good action, Sylvester Stallone, and a few clever lines.

Best regards,

Apple; http://appleandorion.com

Categories: Movie Reviews
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