Archive for the Movies Category

Ant-Man (2015)

Posted in Movie Reviews - 2010s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2015 by They call me "Mephy"

Blogger’s note: This is a rewrite of a review. I unfortunately lost my review due to not submitting it whilst writing…whoops.

It seems like Hollywood has been busy milking the cash cow franchises for the big screen(s) as of late, and Disney comes to mind, seeing as they’ve bought assets from Marvel Comics and holds rights to Star Wars, for better or for worse. Only time will tell if The Force Awakens will be as solid as we’re all expecting it to be. But at least we’ll be safe from the re-re-release/remastered CGI distractions…right? But I digress. Well long story short: the movie I had intended to see (I forgot which one it was) was apparently already off the theater listings, and we were already running late according to the screening schedules, so we settled for this one.

Superhero films seems to be having a good run this decade as well, and they’re definitely doing something right because the audiences keep coming back, unlike what would have done for the many superhero box office bombs of circa 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Ant-Man (2015)

Tagline: “Heroes don’t get any bigger.”

Ant-Man-Poster_1200_1777_81_s

Plot summary

The film is centered around Scott Lang (the second Ant-Man), a former electric engineer being paroled from prison, and struggling to be re-accepted into society due to a burglary incident he was imprisoned for. Barred from seeing his daughter by his ex-wife, he is coerced (by Luis) into doing one more housebreaking job in order to find valuables that could help him pay for child support, he unknowingly breaks into Dr. Hank Pym (the first Ant-Man)’s home and breaks into his vault to find a would-be “ordinary motorcycle suit”; this turns out to be a huge understatement. Little did he know that Pym had orchestrated this eventful meeting with Lang to carry the mantle for becoming the next Ant-Man.

Review:

The film’s strongest point appears to be its humorous quipping and adequate story development. The humor mainly comes from Lang’s discovery of his new found powers of size-alteration (and the mishaps of being ant-sized), as well as his learning to communicate with ants. The Luis character especially stands out as a supporting character, as the protagonist’s friend who manages to smile despite everything he’s been through, and is the one usually making cheeky remarks, or getting sidetracked in his own yarns (of stories). The film wastes less time on expositions and more time on fast-paced action scenes; the characters actually do something, instead of sitting around and talking about that something, which I felt was a good approach by the film, but can be dazzling to keep up with as well.

ant-man-poster-full-marvel

Left: One of the promotion movie posters, with Paul Rudd. Right: A promotional art from the Ant-Man comics, featuring the same character.

However, with humor being its strongest points, one feels that there can also be a little too much humor within the film. At certain times, a heroic battle between hero and villain is normally played out, only to have its mood whip-lashed by sudden shots of the ant-sized battle taking place, which can be cleverly humorous, but it can also be irksome when it happens during a moment when two characters are having a moment. The film also treats the viewers as though they have already watched the other Marvel films of different franchises, and therefore does not elaborate on who The Avengers or Hydra (from Captain America) are. This can be problematic for newcomers of the Marvel franchise, as they would have to assume what’s what on their own. This could be easily remedied by watching the other films or even picking up the comic books, but the film should act as a standalone, while also avoiding too much run-time of characters talking (also could be remedied by flashback segments).

Verdict

Recommended – This film is a decent popcorn superhero flick, and provides the right amount of characterization for Ant-Man (the successor, that is) and what makes him one of the key members of The Avengers. The perky tone and fast-paced action makes for an entertaining group watch.

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Kung Fury (2015)

Posted in Movie Reviews - 2010s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , on June 9, 2015 by They call me "Mephy"

Blogger’s note: First of all, I’d like to apologize to my followers for the unannounced long hiatus from my review blog. Life can be quite a snag with ambitions and hobbies. Anyways, moving on…our first review of the summer of 2015.

Blogger’s note #2: This review is not a “preview review” as the previous ones I’ve (by the way, we are dropping that “blogger” moniker verbal tic) done. It is advisable to watch the film beforehand.

Special thanks to Jon from TastyTufts for proofreading!

 

To view the full movie (free of charge, and brought to you by Laser Unicorns), head to the following link here!

 

Kung Fury (2015)

Tagline: “It takes a cop from the future to defeat an enemy from the past.”

 

 

A cop from the future (well, Miami in 1985) must travel back in time to battle an evil from the past: Adolf Hitler. Written and directed by (as well as starring) David Sandberg, Kung Fury is best described as an explosive mash-up of kung-fu, dinosaurs, explosions and neon lights.

Cast:

David Sandberg, Jorma Taccone, Steve Chew, Leopold Nilsson, Andreas Cahling, Per-Henrik Arvidius, Erik Hörnqvist, Frank Sanderson, Eleni Young, Helene Ahlson, Yasmina Suhonen, Magnus Betnér, Björn Gustafsson, Eos Karlsson, David Hasselhoff

 

Plot Summary – SPOILER WARNING (Highlight to read)

Miami 1985: Kung Fury (David Sandberg), a cop who gained knowledge to the secrets of martial-arts after a freak accident, becomes a vigilante cop who fights crime with the power of kung-fu. After Chief McNickles (Per-Henrik Arvidius) enforces Triceracops, as a new partner for Kung Fury, the now-renegade cop refuses to take his partner under his wing and turns over his badge. Shortly after, a time-traveling Adolf Hitler (Jorma Taccone, of Lonely Island fame) attacks the police precinct, killing the Chief in the process. With the help of Hackerman (Leopold Nilsson), Kung Fury goes on his biggest mission to uphold the low against Kung Führer, the most dangerous criminal he’s ever faced yet.

 

Plot summary – without spoilers

Kung Fury (played by David Sandberg), a cop who gained knowledge to the secrets of martial-arts after a freak accident, must now face his greatest challenge yet. Joined by a band of new acquaintances, he must stop the Kung Führer (Jorma Taccone, of Lonely Island fame) from his evil plans and uphold the law.

 

Review:

Now, how do I express this…? Kung Fury is the type of homage movie that is intentionally overloaded from top to bottom with shout-outs, and goes lengths to make itself as authentic as it source materials; it is an overly-affectionate parody of the 80’s action flick and martial arts film genre which has took on a life of its own. Watching this movie, there was no shortage of references to video games (Mortal Kombat and Wolfenstein 3D, among others) and overused movie plot devices of the time (played for laughs, of course). Throughout the film, mullets, Ray-Bans, sports cars – notably the DeLorean DMC-12 – make an appearance, as well as the ZX Spectrum and the infamous Nintendo Power Glove (it’s so bad). Kudos to the details that matter, from props, scenery and beyond: the establishing shots of Miami probably even stock footages (or as the crew has stated, replicated in CGI onto green screens). Moreso, the film itself uses filters that transform its cinematography into an old VHS: think fuzzy pictures quality, and bad video tracking. You could even say it’s parodying its B-movie status.

Kung Fury came about with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, which nowadays is relied on by plenty of independent filmmakers for funds. Whilst not all of these are successful, to call Kung Fury a success is an understatement – the hype surrounding it since the trailer came out paid off, much to the delight of the Internet. Now for you folks out there who are confused as to why this is a big deal: Kickstarters are often an ‘iffy’ deal for backers, the folks who ‘back’ projects, as it’s never a guarantee that the final work will live up to the previews or that it would be abandoned mid-way or worse, a scam. This film, however, has proven to be quite the contrary. It’s even spawned it’s own Streets of Rage-esque video game, although one could say it’s also reminiscent of Bad Dudes and other titles of the SNES/NES era of beat ’em up game genre.

 

 

Before its official Ustream premiere on the 28th of May, the timeline of Kung Fury first appeared on the radar back in 2013, when a trailer and Kickstarter was started. The project successfully raised $630,020 USD with 17,713 backers on January 25, 2014, and from the looks of the Kickstarter descriptions, it does not seem like the Laser Unicorns crew has plans to stop at a 31-minutes film either.

At the time of this writing, the number of views on the Kung Fury trailer had soared up to 11 million; the Hasselhoff music video at 13 million; and the movie itself at 12 million. These views are climbing rapidly as the Internet spreads it by word-of-mouth.

 

Verdict:

The awkward antics combined with the bad one-liners in the right (or rather, rightly wrong) places is really what makes the film so good at what it does. And even if you don’t get the visual references, the over-the-top action scenes and outrageous plot makes up for it in many ways.

I particularly like this film for personal reasons as I am avid retro culture enthusiast. Inclinations aside, I still highly recommend this film for (a short) movie night – so gather some buddies and grab the popcorn!

 

And now I sign y’all off, with The Hoff!

 

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Posted in Movie reviews - 1950s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Promotional movie poster

Sorry if I haven’t been updating as frequently during my SUMMER BREAK (hey, we all need a vacation…), as well as some romance, real-life, sleep pattern issues. I hope to break the habit eventually when college approaches. Aside from being a fan of stop-motion creativity, I do not shy away from the usually extravagant display of Broadway musicals, which of course always leaves me in a happier mood than I should be.

In the bustling city of New York, we follow two stories of conflict between two greatest rival: love and money. Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) is the operator of “New York’s Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York” (well, they all claim that.) but is also in need of a new spot for his business; this involves the payment of $1000 to rent out the Biltmore Garage, which he doesn’t have at the moment. He decides to make a bet on a high-rolling gambler, Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando), whom has a reputation for betting on anything, is around and offers him a proposition: Take a certain Salvation Army doll named Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons) to Havana, Cuba for a date; if he fails, he pays the 1 grand. Meanwhile, Nathan’s sweetheart, Miss Adelaide (Vivian Blaine, reprising her Broadway role), is frustrated by his involvement with the craps game and her 14-years engagement with him because she wishes he would quit and get married with her already.

Apparently, this is sadly the only musical from Joseph L. Mankiewicz (as well as Brando) and to be honest, this was pretty enjoyable. I’ve never watched a film with a young Marlon Brando in it before, so I was not only surprised by his charming appearance but also his singing voice! Sinatra obviously filled his role, being the crooner he is and the chemistry (yeah, chemistry!) between the two pair felt mutual as a good cast would. As for the “interlude” scenes, the opening scene of “dancing” city folks in rush hour was an amusing but somehow natural feeling of what the real thing could be. Even to scenes like a craps game in a sewer ,with gamblers in interpret-dancing in the essence of the gang fights in West Side Stories (1961, which will be reviewed possibly in the later reviews not too far in the future!). It’s definitely a recommendation to anyone with enough tolerance for singing and dancing (a lot of this blogger’s friends aren’t that fond of musicals…) and probably has been performed numerously in school plays. It’s a classic to watch, truth be, and you would surely want to stop by to watch this at least once in your life!

Dewey Cox: The Walk Hard Story (2008)

Posted in Movie reviews - 2000s, Movies on June 14, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Dewey Cox: The Walk Hard Story (2008)

After watching this one ages ago (I just started reviewing it now), it became an instant favorite for this blogger! Walk Hard can be defined as one of those films that takes you through the decades and does it well (although they didn’t really mention much about my favorite decade: the 80s). It also proved to us Bill C. Reily had a voice for singing!

Plot summary

In a rural 1946 Springberry, Alabama, 6-year-old Dewey (although, it technically should be 10 since his birthdate is 1936) and his child prodigy younger brother, Ned. During a pretend machete fight, one of the machetes unsheathe and cuts Ned in half (strangely, still alive and talking from his upper body stump). His father blames him for the accident (“The wrong kid died!”) and Dewey suddenly loses his sense of smell. Dewey must fulfill the dying wish of Ned to be double-great for the both of them and become something of himself; he takes up a guitar lesson in blues music in a country-store and becomes a rather fast learner.

Seven years later, Dewey (now 14 years old) causes a pitchfork-and-torch riot after a rock n’ roll performance, forcing Dewey to run off with his 12-year-old (that’s right) girlfriend to…well, they never told us, honestly. Eventually, he has a “light bulb moment” and gets his shot at the big time with his song, “Walk Hard”.

Review

Being based on “Walk the Line”, the movie alters between humorous tone and serious one. At first glance of the movie poster, some will know right away that it’s reference The Young Lion photo shoot of Jim Morrison (lead singer of The Doors), already luring us in with a spoof of an iconic picture. The amazing part would be the fact John C. Reily himself played the guitar and sang the songs. The soundtrack of the film itself was written by various singer-songwriters, all of them had Reily singing and playing on guitar; it won the Sierra Award for Best Song in a Motion Picture from the Las Vegas Film Critics Society.

Verdict

For those of you who live under a rock like me and nonetheless are exposed to all kinds of music genres and band histories: This movie is a MUST-SEE for anyone who have great taste in music and enjoys a good laugh at tongue n’ cheek references/spoofs will also find the notable roles (and the actors behind those roles) ranging from Buddy Holly (Frankie Muniz) to Paul McCartney (Jack Black) quite “perfectly wrong casting…in a good way”.

Cool World (1992)

Posted in Movie reviews - 1990s, Movies on June 14, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Cool World (1992)

Promotional movie poster

This was certainly interesting to watch (by that, I mean the animation and techniques). Ralph Bakshi delivers to us another one of his adult-oriented (although, this one’s rather toned down) side of cartoons, from a psychotic Craps bunny to howling pack of McWolf-esque bunch. It was not meant to be a direct rival with Roger Rabbit (4 years difference between each film’s release), the difference between the two being Cool World was originally a horror film with a plot, while Roger Rabbit adapted to suggestive (but nothing too dodgy) and had characters that were both appealing and interesting for the audience. Paramount wanted a PG-13 animation rather than the usual R-rated Bakshi creates; this did not fare well between him and the studio and predictably resulted in the final production. In 1945 Las Vegas, Frank Harris (Brad Pitt) just came home from his duties as a soldier to be greeted by Mom Harris (Janni Brenn-Lowen). At some point, he wins a motorbike in a gamble and decides to take his mother for a ride with him (she left the dinner cooking too. It makes you wonder…). Not far from the road, a drunk couple decides to take a stroll in their car in their tipsy state; tragic happened. Frank discovers his mother dead on the road whilst waking up from his sudden PTSD after the crash. The authorities and ambulance arrive to the scene, but shortly Frank is phased from the real world into Cool World, a world of toons, hardly having had time to grief over the incident. In 1991 Las Vegas, Jack Deebs (Gabriel Byrne), a comic artist, is on his last day before his release from prison (after killing a man found in bed with his ex-wife). He phases alternatively between the real world and his Cool World (he created it or did it exist before him?), being seduced by his femme fatale creation, Holli Would (Kim Basinger). Frank, now a cop of Cool Town, eventually hears of Jack’s presence and warns him that toons and noids (a term they use for ‘real’ people) cannot make ‘doodle’ together, for reasons. Holli and Jack disregards this and dooms Cool World’s stability. It’s up to Frank to make things right again by bringing Holli back to Cool World.

Ralph Bakshi’s success was more known with Fritz the Cat (1972), but he has made several other works since not including the less successful sequel, The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974) (Bakshi was not involved with the film), but Heavy Traffic (1973), Coonskin (1975) and American Pop (1981). It’s not actually a bad film, the only problem is that the story itself is really nothing new from Bakshi and his other works (all are, of course, adult themed and consisting of drugs, sex, more women-chasing and occasional random violence between cartoons to emphasize the chaos). Basinger’s nymphomaniac character of Holli Would possessed nothing beneath her uncontrollable lust for noids; her live action counterpart was uninteresting and not really as stunning in physique as her animated self. In fact, almost all the animated characters on the screen were obnoxious and annoying. The film was aimed for the wrong audiences (PG-13) obviously, but Bakshi also was to blame for not giving his animators a screenplay to work with. I’d only recommend it if you’re a fan of Ralph Bakshi but even then, there are better works from him than Cool World.

Oh yeah, did I mention a cameo by Frank Sinatra Jr. in one scene?

Tuesday With Morrie (1999, television film) Review

Posted in Movie reviews - 1990s, Movies with tags , , , , , , , on May 16, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Tuesday With Morrie (1999, television film)

Oprah Winfrey presents:

Guys, the exam week for my high school senior year is approaching in about 2 weeks and I may have postpone until the exams are over. If that’s the case, I’ll have to make up for about 3 entries I haven’t gotten up which I’ll have more time to do so during summer break.

Watched this one with my English class; half of them couldn’t care less and talked amongst themselves…pity. For those who’ve enjoyed the book (including this blogger), this television film adaptation was as good as the book. Directed by Mick Jackson, this one won an Emmy award for Jack Lemmon for his role as Morrie.

Morrie Schwartz (Jack Lemmon) is a retired college professor who loves to dance, despite his age. One day, his body succumbs to a terminal case of ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Instead of living his final months in grief and regret, Meanwhile, Mitch (Hank Azaria, also known for his role in America’s Sweethearts and the 1998 Godzilla film), a former student of Morrie’s and currently a sports journalist and commentator, hears of his friend’s (or professor’s; Morrie’s sort of both) condition and decides to give Morrie a visit. He also has trouble in keeping a steady relationship with his fiance, Janine, due being rather occupied with his job when both want to talk to each other. Morrie decides to make this his last class session with Mitch; his main topic: life.

The book’s theme and plot was plain and simple enough for a nice little television film, but the casting proved to be suitable for the roles. When Lemmon is bedridden as Morrie and talks of his past, we can feel the uneasiness from Mitch, as Morrie could be gasping for air at any time; this was also Lemmon’s last credited television film role (his last film role being The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000) ). The film focused mostly on Mitch’s private life rather than from Morrie’s, compared to the book, taking out the plot about Mitch’s brother and his estranged relationship with Mitch, being a cancer victim pursuing a cure in Spain. The book also mentioned a writer’s strike, whereas the film does not mention or show this, with Mitch working regularly. The quality isn’t too bad, after all being adapted for television and would probably have limited funding, but then there was nothing too extravagant to work with like special effects (most of the shots use whatever is there at the filming location and seems to only have to focus on music selection). I would recommend anyone to watch this (and read the book, if you’re not too lazy), it’s a beautiful story of someone you can learn from that could be used for everyday life.

Airplane! (1980)

Posted in Movie reviews - 1980s, Movies with tags , , , , , , on May 4, 2012 by They call me "Mephy"

Airplane! (1980)

 

Promotional movie poster

 

Folks, this marks the last entry for Journalism class of my high school senior year. However, this is not the last entry of the blog! More will come as promised: weekly updates. If something gets in the way, an entry will be made up for later on (most likely the week after).

One of the first parody films of the time, it parodies at disaster movies, mainly the film Zero Hour (1957)’s plot. It’s no wonder this is still a classic for parody films!

The plot is about an ex-fighter pilot and taxi driver named Ted Striker (Robert Hays) who pursues his lover, Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty) in hopes of convincing her to stay with him; she plans to move to Chicago and start anew because he lives in the past and can’t move on from his traumatic experience on a mission in some war (not even the stock footage of avian dogfights helped identify it). He follows her onto the trans-American flight she works as an air hostess on, headed for Chicago. The passengers on the plane include: A girl whose on her way to have heart transplant, Dr. Barry Rumack (played by the late Leslie Nielsen, known for his lead role in the Naked Gun series), two jive-talkers, and others. Things go smooth until after the in-flight meal of choice between steak and fish; the people who ate fish succumb to becoming very ill due to food poisoning, which included the navigator, co-pilot Roger Murdock (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Captain Clarence Oveur (Peter Graves). Flying without a pilot on board (besides an inflatable pilot named Otto “piloting” the plane) and with the aid of tower supervisor, Steve McCroskey (Lloyd Bridges, father of Jeff Bridges) and Rex Kramer (Robert Stack), who has a bad history with Ted during the war; Ted must battle his post-traumatic disorder and save the people on board.

Well-timed humor, irrelevant or not to the story, makes this a laugh-a-minute film. Some of the humor is understandably dated (jive talk with captions…see if anyone even does jive talk anymore…) and others are borderline dodgy (mild topless nudity and drug usage). This would later be followed by a less-successful sequel and have its format copied by numerous people which spawned the Scary Movies series, Not Another [genre] Movie series, and other parodies poking fun at cliches in each genre. Taste may vary between people but for this blogger, this film is not bad and likable for its pacing between scenes (doesn’t milk it dry until it becomes unfunny) and for putting together the wrong cliches in the wrong situation, which ensues hilarity and chaos. Why not give this a watch?

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