Category Archives: Action

Legend of the Seeker

Lately I’ve been yearning for some good sword and sorcery fantasy kind of stuff. Plenty of books out there, but for whatever reason I’ve been having a hard time finding films or shows to watch, especially ones I haven’t seen already.

I remember seeing ads for Legend of the Seeker and dismissed it. Well, just ignored it because I don’t watch to many shows as they air anymore due to lack of time. Netflix has it and it was suggested somewhere. I’m on winter break so I have time to sit down and give it a shot.

The show is interesting. It’s based off of a series of books by Terry Goodkind and apparently he approves and had involvement with the shows production. That doesn’t mean much to me because I’ve never read anything by him. Anyways, as much as this is a fantasy show, it’s differentish. It’s not LOTRD fantasy, it’s more there are some people with magic and some weird creatures, but mostly just peasants or people fighting with swords. We of course see a lot of magic and weird stuff because we’re following a special group he gets involved with that sort of thing. It’s sort of simple. The stories are very much good vs. evil and it’s pretty clear which is which.

The story though. It takes place in a land ruled by a dude named Darken Rahl who I’m not sure how to describe. He’s the villain and rules pretty much everything and is a prick. Nothing new. There is a prophecy out there however about a Seeker (not the Quidditch kind) who will defeat Darken Rahl. The first two episodes basically give you all of this background information and set everything up. We find the Seeker and his little band of friends form and set off to kill the evil tyrant Darken Rahl. Season two finds us doing the same kind of thing except they’re fighting the Keeper. Again things are set up pretty much in the first episode or two of that season as well.

The show has its own environment with names for different things and people. They all get explained. Some are good, other’s bad. There are some kick-ass ladies known as Mord-Sith that bug me because I’m a huge Star Wars nerd and I only think of Mr. Lucas’s Sith every time and I question how similar they are.

Initially I was displeased with the show. After finishing both seasons, I still sort of am. I got past the exposition heavy first two episodes. They really are tough to get through because of that. What bugs me is that I still haven’t decided what the intention of the show was. It seems quite campy at times, mainly season one. Yet, it’s not nearly enough for me to believe that it was intentional. The humor isn’t that good and part way through season two it kind of dies all together. I just haven’t grasped how seriously the show was taking itself. If it was Terry Pratchett I would’ve bought into it a bit more.

The romance was another issue. Richard and Kahlen’s romance plot made me want to rip my hair out. It was excessive and worse yet it wasn’t new. They never had it evolved. They just kept remarking on how hard it was and everyone and them taunt them about doing it anyways. I’m also kind of disturbed that women apparently are getting pregnant from having intercourse once. Not sure what message that’s supposed to be about. Even once Cara get’s some romance thrown out her, it’s half assed. No one cares. Even Zed is kinda ignored. It just wasn’t needed for me to have these crappy romance plots that were very static and never toyed with.

I also was sort of upset with the character actions and development or lack there of. I honestly don’t feel like any of them have change too much by the end. They even kinda remark on this in the show. At a point it just becomes way to predictable as to who is going to do or say what. Even some of the plots started to get rehashed a bit much. I mean there’s this large overarching story as to what they are supposed to be setting out to do, yet most of the show has nothing to do with that problem. It’s all of the little random side quests. I mean if the end of the world is at stake you don’t fart around.

I don’t know. There’s a lot of little things that bugged the hell out of me and were wholly unrealistic in the context of the show. I feel like the books are probably pretty good, but they ended up with some shitty filler stuff to fill a tv show. Yet I kept watching. I was oddly hooked on it, despite how frustrated I got. Season two was just miserable really. I kept watching that to find out the ending. In reality I could’ve just skipped to the last two episodes. They put in these “lessons” for the characters, but they never show up again or utilize them.

The action sequences bugged the hell out of me as well. At first they were cool and sort of remained that way, but in the end there was way too much use of slow motion and pausing in the fight scenes. That and it soon dawned on me that the showed basically the same shots of every character fighting. And Kahnlen’s confession shit was annoying to see. I understood how it worked after they showed it the first time. I don’t need to see in slow motion and close-up the eyes changing and shit. It was a waste of time.

It sort of satisfied my desire for the genre, but not enough. The show was decent, especially since I’ve seen some really shitty fantasy stuff out there. Still, season two isn’t really worth it. It’s just a cluster-fuck to me, but if you start it you may get hooked enough to want to find out how it ends, which I must admit was lame. The season finale made me wonder whether they knew if the show would continue or not, because the ending is rushed and kinda anticlimactic to me.

So, check it out if you’re looking for some sword and sorcery, fantasy kinda stuff. It’s decent enough and you’ll either turn it off relatively soon or keep watching and either enjoy it or wonder why you kept watching it like I did.

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Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

I’m a fan of the Mission Impossible film franchise (have yet to see the old TV show).They’ve always been good action flicks and are usually at least moderately funny. Always been a food enough reason for me to watch a movie.

Like all MI films the plot to Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is kinda, wtf? They never seem to make too much sense and tend to be a bit vague. That’s never been the point fo the films. They aren’t intended to be smart detailed stories with deep twists and turns for us to analyze and follow. They’re action flicks focused at nice visuals and big explosions. That’s my interpretation at least.

Anyways, I didn’t really grasp the story. Now that I think of it though, I didn’t really bother trying to follow what the hell was going on. Eventually you figure out ti has something to do with nuclear missiles and that’s about it. Kind of a rehashing of cold war tension stuff. The thing that was going to bother me however, was Ethan Hunt got married in the last film. Did his wife just up and die randomly or leave him? Is that going to be the excuse so that the can run around and blow shit up and jump out of buildings? Sort of. Initially there isn’t much explanation. There’s supposed to be a lot of “a lot of shit has happened between now and the last movie and no one knows what that was.” Eventually the wife thing gets fully explained and it worked well enough for me. Initially though, it was a bit annoying. So yeah, the story again. Kinda starts out with you wondering what the hell is going on and takes a while for any details to be given.

Who cares though? Good triumphs over evil (sorry if I spoiled that for you) and Ethan Hunt lives to fight back in the next movie, since they do clearly set it up for another to follow, which considering how good this one is doing, will probably happen quite soon.

The visuals are great. Nuff said. MI always has some pretty sweet shots, and this fourth installment is probably the best in that department. Part of that is the locations they chose to use, but still. Some great looking shots throughout the entire movie. Especially when they are in Dubai. I’d actually like to go see this in IMAX because it would no doubt be pretty fucking sweet there, especially since they filmed using those cameras.

The action sequences all worked well. None of the fighting seems to stand out too much in my mind, but again the Dubai stuff is just freaking amazing. The only thing that I’m struggling with a  bit is that a lot of the “action” sequences seemed to be long. I keep remembering all of these long chase scenes and very few smaller ones in between. One scene in particular made me kinda wonder how long they were going to milk it because at that point I was like, “ok this is Mission Impossible, he’s gotten away by now.” So yeah, Dubai shit rocked.

The comedy is still here. Simon Pegg does a lot, but that’s sort of expected. It’s nice he got a beefed up role. Actually this movie seemed to be the funniest out of the franchise. The comedy worked well to. They did a good job of mixing it in with everything. The film had its emotional moments and they weren’t always broken by putting in a laugh. My theater was laughing pretty much constantly through the movie (though some of them were laughing by themselves because they were those kind of people who laugh at every single thing very loudly).

One of my gripes about the franchise is how much it reuses stuff, mostly tech. Some of it’s nice to see reoccurring, but it gets tot he point where it’s just overdone. The masks basically. They’ve become something of a joke because they constantly get used. There’s some slight meta joking about the use of the masks in this film, which I loved. In fact, while the masks are used, they aren’t used that often. Really at all. There are some other gadgets that get recycled, but again they make light of the fact that they’re being reused or tweak it some how. That and there’s plenty of new shit to go around. And as much as the MI franchise is known for it’s Bond-like gadgets, they pretty much all malfunction to some extent in the film. It puts more pressure on the actual skills of the characters, which again was refreshing.

Tom CruiseJeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and Paula Patton, are you’re spectacular team here and really they’re the only people you see much of. Even the other “players” only appear in small pieces here and here. I thought everyone did a good job, including Mr. Cruise. I stand by him being a good actor still. You can make fun of his real life shenanigans all you want, but he still can act, especially in more comedic roles. Actually one of the things I like about the “team” is how they all have some personal shit to deal with. Not so much with Pegg, but instead of having one character brooding the whole time, they pretty much all have their moments.

I hope Brad Bird comes back to direct the next film. I think he did a great job and I think Cruise, Abrams, and Bird working together seems to be a pretty good fit. The two film before Abrams were different from the two he’s been involved with and while I like all of them, I think what they’ve managed to create in the fourth film will probably help them keep the franchise moving if the so choose. I mean Tom Cruise is almost fifty I think and he doesn’t look it. He can still play Ethan Hunt for a while if he wants.

So yeah, pretty solid film, especially for the franchise. Pretty fast paced with plenty of action and humor. Definitely worth the watching, and more so in theaters. I base part of my decision to see movies on the visual aspect. I want to watch action flicks in theaters because they rely on those big screens. I can watch a comedy at home.

Die Hard

Well this isn’t really a christmas tradition. I’d like it to be, but it still sort of is. Every year around christmas time I usually end up watching Die Hard again. Not every year and usually not on christmas eve like this year, but generally Die Hard gets a re-watch around the holiday. Personally, I’d like to make it more of a tradition.

Anyways as odd a choice as Die Hard maybe be to watch on Christmas Eve, it is set on that day. It technically takes place during the holiday. It’s sort of hard to tell. McClane’s wife is at a Christmas party in Nakatomi tower and they do allude to it a couple of times.

Anyways Die Hard is a bout this cop from New York who comes out to visit his wife in LA (she also has their two children). He stops by the christmas party and shit hits the fan shortly after. Some Germans led by Hans Gruber hijack the party and get up to some nonsense. McClane hides and basically fuck shit up. Eventually the police get involved and things get worse. In the end good triumphs, but that’s hardly a surprise. Really describing the plot to Die Hard seems kind of pointless. In my mind it’s a well known movie, but there are plenty of people unaware of it.

Anyway, I’ve always liked Die Hard. It’s a nice shoot ’em up, blow shit sky-high extravaganza. That and the movie has some pretty sweet lines and is actually funny. It’s a great action movie or comedy by itself for the most part and the two elements combined really work.

The actors though are the reason why. I like Bruce Willis. He’s great as John McClane. I’m assuming it’s his most notable role. I also recall reading somewhere that like 90 percent of his dialogue was improvised, so if that’s true, even more kudos for the man, because he has some great lines. Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker. Alan Rickman is also great as Hans (I love that Jeremy Irons plays his brother in the third film). He’s a great actor and does a great job at villains (though he he has amazing comedic timing). The supporting cast is great to. Reginald VelJohnson (Family Matters is probably why you recognize him), does a great job as does Paul Gleason. They both kind of play character types they are well known for and they do such a good job at it. The terrorists are all pretty good small roles as well. Same for some of the office workers or police/FBI. Not big roles, but they do a good job for the jokes they’re put in there for.

I feel like I should say more, but I can’t think of a lot to add. The dated references are great, especially if you catch them. I wonder how many people know who Roy Rogers or Arafat are. The edited version for cable is interesting to watch, because the film has a fair amount of explicative so editing them for cable is fun to listen to. Especially Willis’s catchphrase.

So yeah. I love Die Hard. Great action-comedy. If you haven’t seen it you should and hell, maybe you’ll make it a holiday tradition as well. It’s a good enough movie for it and even if you ignore the holiday bit, it’s a great movie.

Now that I’ve watched the first one, I’ll probably be watching and reviewing the others soon.

Hook

 

Well I think this is the last of the Peter Pan stuff. That and I feel it’s fitting to end with Hook.

So I always feel obligated to preface posts with these kind of warnings. Hook is a movie from my childhood. I loved it and still do. Part of that is because it is a good movie and part of it is because Robin Williams is in it, and I love him. He’s the comic that got me into comedy, because he was in these kinds of movies. That and I have a wonderful dad who introduced me to stand-up. I also have a soft spot for this film because it was directed by Spielberg, who I’ve professed my undying love for many a time. So, you’ve been forewarned about how this review is most likely going to go. Also know that in the there are sort of spoilers below. Some people get really up tight about what you reveal. Personally it’s not like I’m telling you Dumbledore dies (sorry for anyone who isn’t aware of that.)

Hook is not really an adaptation of the Peter Pan stories. It’s basically a “what happens of the stories?” The movie starts out by introducing a grown up Peter Pan, now Peter Banning. He’s married to Moira whose the granddaughter of some chick named Wendy Darling. The coincidence’s to the J.M. Barrie story are noted and addressed by the characters. They joke that Granny Wendy is the real Wendy. The “truth” however is that Mr. Barrie knew the Darling children and simply recorded their wonderful tales. We learn that Peter is suffering through the harsh realities of growing up and having a family. He’s actually a lot like Mr. Darling in my mind. Anyways his two children (yes he has children) are kidnapped by Hook (or his cronies – this is never really explained). A note is left telling Peter to return to get his children. the catch is that Peter has no recollection of anything before he was 12, which means Neverland is just a story to him. For whatever reason though Wendy can still remember it all as does Tootles (one of the Lost Boys now old and in England). Anyways Tinkerbell (or Stinkerbell as I prefer) appears and helps Pan to Neverland. Stuff ensues as Peter has to learn to become the boy wonder he used to be to save his children from Hook. A happy ending of course.

Again, my knowledge of Peter Pan is a bit iffy. Haven’t read it in a while, but I’m fairly certain a  lot of liberties were taken with what they do bring up in here. I’m fine with that. I learned to not get my panties in a bunch over the translation from book to film. The Bourne series taught me that. What they did works to me.

I guess the casting needs addressed since it is quite an impressive cast. Dustin Hoffman plays Hook. If I had never seen this movie till now I would’ve wondered why Dustin Hoffman would be cast as Hook. I just don’t see it and even having seen the film multiple times, I still don’t see it. It just doesn’t seem like him, yet he does a brilliant job. It’s actually really hard for me to even think of Hook as Hoffman when watching it. Robin Williams plays Peter Pan (the adult version). I’m sort of torn on this. I love Robin. I think he’s a great actor and I think he did a good job in the movie. I can even see why he was cast. Robin Williams defiantly has that sort of man-child vibe to an extent (minus the excess body hair). Unfortunately I think Spielberg kept him on to tight of a leash. Part of what makes Williams great is his ability to just go out and do some insane shit and I feel like you don’t see that here and that really hurts the role. That and he does look a bit odd in tights. Julia Roberts is another one who seems to get some flack for her portrayal of Tinkerbell. I’ve never been able to see that. I have to admit, I had a crush on Roberts since at some point I saw this at that lovely age when hormones begin a brewing. That, unneeded fact aside, she was still good. Sure, she might not have been great, but considering what the role was I didn’t think it was bad. I mean, most of the time she would have been in a studio alone. When she “grows up/gets big” she does a great job.

You also have Bob Hoskins appear as an amazing Smee and I thought he was great. I still say “what about Smee!” sometimes. Maggie Smith is naturally great. Great lady who is always amazing and she does a nice job as Wendy. It would’ve been cool if she had more screen time. Charlie Korsmo plays Jack, one of Peter’s children and I thought he was good. His onscreen sister, Maggie, played by Amber Scott, was better. That may be partially because she was pretty darn cute. Unfortunately she is no longer acting (at least according to IMDB). Rufio, Rufio, Rufio! Everyone remembers Rufio. I think it’s the hair. Dante Basco will forever be remember as that kid. His acting wasn’t bad, but he was fortunate to have a character that for whatever reason just stood out and was fascinating. I would’ve liked to have seen a movie about Rufio and the Lost Boys. It can still happen since Basco looks pretty young and still plays teens sometimes.

So, what’s left? Visuals? Amazing. I mean it is Spielberg. I think he did a fantastic job with his version of Neverland.

The music though. Oh, I how I love the music. I’m listening to it right now and probably will keep listening to it for a while. Why is it amazing? Guess why? Who loves working with Spielberg? That’s right John Williams. If there’s a film composer people know it’s probably him, partly because of is work with Speilberg. He composes some great pieces, but I think his forte is creating themes. He does a fantastic job of finding the sound that fits the movie and sticks with you. A theme that you can listen to over and over and just the music brings the images from the film to mind.

The movie has flaws. It’s not perfect, but I chose to stay blissfully unaware of them. Nostalgia is allowing me to treasure this movie and I’m fine with it. That and even if I try to analyze it, I still don’t think it’s a crap film. Not Spielberg best, bust hey, even when the man isn’t scoring a huge hit it’s still better than a lot fo movies.

I’m resisting the urge to watch this movie again right now, but I advise anyone who hasn’t seen it to check it out. If you have and hated it, trying giving it another shot. Open your mind up a bit and try to enjoy it.

Peter Pan (2003)

I know another Peter Pan related post. I don’t intend on watching every film version (though I may, doubt it though.) Actually I’m about to watch Hook again. I’ve been trying to resist the urge, but can’t. Screw finals.

I’m a fan of Peter Pan. It’s always interested me. It has, however, been some time since I’ve seen any film/tele version. It’s also been a while since I’ve read Peter and Wendy (the only one I’ve read).

Peter Pan to me was a good adaptation. As far as I remember the overall gist of the story, this movie seemed to get the highlights that stick in my mind. It may be the best adaptation as far as the story goes or it may not. For me, it was good. It didn’t seem to bizarre in its interpretation and seemed to at least try to stay faithful to the source material.

This version of Peter Pan is interesting. For all intents and purposes it is very much a family/children’s film. It is however a slightly dark portrayal though and I don’t just mean visually. Things are quite intense at some points and I liked it. In fact I’d actually like to see a sort of gritty Peter Pan (Neverland I suppose attempted to take a step in that direction). The problem for me at least was the sort of, for lack of a better word, “wacky” slapstick humor that was thrown in here and there. At times it was pretty mild, other times not so much. For kids it was probably great. To me, it jut threw off the darker mood they were setting up. This was supposed to be a family film though, so I understand the humor being put. And it’s not that it was bad, it just didn’t mesh to me.

I have to say the visuals were one of my favorite aspects of the film and I can’t quite find the words to describe it. It sort of mixes an attempt at realism and fantasy. It’s kind of weird, but more cool than weird. I liked it a lot, especially since there was a really good balance. The whole space trip to Neverland however was a bit out off place to me, but that’s the only thing I can think of.

Jason Issacs doubles as Mr. Darling and Hook and does a great job at both. I really like Issas and he does a great job here as usually, especially at Hook. He does villains well. Lynn Redgrave and Olivia Williams both have nice parts and do well and I liked the dog. Jeremy Sumpter plays Peter and I really liked him. He has a sort of odd charm and was really good at being the little boy running around, while still being able to pull off the more serious emotional bits. Rachel Hurd-Wood was also really good as Wendy.

It’s really a great adaptation that I’m guessing most people will like if their fans of Pan. Even if you’re not, it’s still a good fantasy family film.

PS: At this point Hook is replacing BF3 in my 360 so I’ll probably have a post for it later.

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

So I was in the mood for some hack and slash, sword and sorcery kinda movie. Particularly, one I haven’t seen yet. A recent discussion of Dungeons and Dragons got me in the mood (I don’t know anyone anymore who plays D&D – at least no one who’ll admit it unfortunately). In the end I decided to watch Conan the Barbarian, which I’ve never seen.

The movie draws from other sources, none of which I’m familiar with. The story is basically about how Conan comes from nothing to someday be king (though we don’t see that here). As a child his parents are killed, he grows up in some tough shit, becomes a gladiator, latter is set free and becomes a sort of thief. In the end he manages to start a quest to get revenge on the weird and honestly, quite lame, sorcerer that killed his parents. The story line wasn’t exactly riveting to me, but at the time I guess it might have seemed better, mostly because we’ve had a chance to reuse this kind of thing more now.

Let me just jump to one of the things I really did not like about the movie. The pacing. The movie is two hours and it felt longer. Why? Because they structure the film like it was an epic along the lines of Ben-Hur or Lawrence of Arabia. It isn’t. Movies like that can get away with the long montages of nothingness, because in-between shit happens. Not only that but it’s good shit. Conan however uses a number of those long montage type sequences and there is little filler in between, especially for the first half of the movie. It’s just a lot of build up to finally get to the part where Conan is going to hunt down Doom.

I don’t know what to think of the acting either. Arnold Schwarzenegger is okay I guess. He at least looks great in the role. I liked watching him stand and fiddle with his sword, which really should have been bigger. James Earl Jones surprised me. I was unaware that he was in the movie and I’m kind of surprised. I don’t want to say he’s bad because it’s James Earl Jones. The role is what I’m choosing to blame. That and the make up. They gave him some weird looking long hair. The rest of the cast is all ok for the movie. I’m not dying to find out who anyone is because they blew me away, but it’s hardly the worst I’ve seen, especially from similar types of films.

The special effects were actually pretty good, more so probably because of the time and the action sequences were good, if again slow. The narration bothered me though. It wasn’t consistent enough for one and it just didn’t fit. Another one of those weird things that irked me.

As negative as most of that sounds, it wasn’t bad. I was just kind of hoping for something a bit more gritty and action packed I guess. Maybe I’m just spoiled from some good modern hack and slash sword movies, but Conan’s biggest drawback was just slow everything. Slow moving story, action, and dialogue (thank you Arnold).

I can understand why it’s considered a classic and I’m not set against watching it again. I’d defiantly need to be in the mood for it and at least now I have some idea of what is going to bug me.

The Muppets

Well I’m fresh out of viewing The Muppets so this is going to be a glowing review. I haven’t had to much time to try and say anything negative, though I don’t think I need to.

The Muppets is about how the Muppets have been forgotten. That over the years their popularity has decreased and that times have changed. That we wouldn’t appreciate them now even if they did put on a performance.

The movie is a love song to the Muppets. There’s a lot of blowing smoke up their own buts it you want to twist things to a negative view. The fact is that the Muppets were a huge phenomenon and while younger generations may not be familiar with them, there are still young people and older audiences that love them.

In a way the new movie is similar to the orignal Muppet Movie, but not really. Out of all of the films, that’s the best comparison. In fact they reference the orignal film frequently to compare themselves to it. The orignal movie was sort of about the Muppets meting for the first time and the new movie is the Muppets meeting each other for the first time in years. It really is a sequel of sorts to the orignal film.

The original Muppet Movie however was very much a road movie and was very lighthearted. This film is actually quite different when you look at it. There’s a lot more exploration of the characters, or at least some of the main ones. The movie explores their dynamic and to an extent looks at why the Muppets were so great. There are a number of moments that are just horribly unfunny, because they’re sad. They are very good emotionally charged scenes.

The music of course was really good. They don’t hold up to the orignal songs, but I think that has more to do with time. “Life is a Happy Song” is actually really good and catchy. I think the movie needs more than one viewing for them to become as memorable as some of the older ones, but they are still pretty solid. Actually Chris Cooper does a pretty good rap at one point. The only two full old songs to make appearances are the Muppet Show theme and of course Rainbow Connection. There are some references and extracted lyrics from older songs, but they aren’t performed.  There’s also a great cover of Nirvana.

The Muppets were all great. You have different puppeteers now that some of the originals have died or moved on, but honestly I thought they did a great job. The only issue I had was with the guy who does Staldorf’s (I think) voice. The voices for that duo were very iconic for me and the new voice just doesn’t match the original. As far as the new Muppet Walter goes, I thought he was ok. Nothing spectacular, but good for the movie. He actually isn’t really the main character. He’s more of a catalyst to get the movie going, which was nice.

Jason Segel, who incidentally is the reason this movie exists, did a good job as Walter’s brother. Amy Adams was really good as well. For the roles they were cast in they were pretty damned good. As was Rashida Jones as the TV exec. OF course the movie has to have a human villain which is where Chris Cooper comes in and he was great. Again he does a neat little rap at one point. Really the human cast was great.

The cameos. The Muppets are famous for their cameos. I’m almost disappointed in the cameos in this movie, but maybe that has something to do with my fondness for the cameos in the other films. At this point these may be spoilers for you. I’m going to list some of the cameos, mainly the ones I enjoyed, so you’ve been warned. Alan Arkin, Jack Black, Bill Cobbs, Zach Galifianakis, Donald Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Neil Patrick Harris, John Krasinski, Jim Parsons, Rico Rodriguez, Mickey RooneySarah Silverman, Ken Jeong, Kristen Schaal, and Emily Blunt. There are more, but those are the ones that I remember and stood out to me.

My biggest disappointment was the lack of Steve Martin. For some reason I just thought he’d make an appearance. He’s worked with the Muppets a number of times and I always loved his appearances. They did at least reference him a number of times by name or via a picture of him. I’m also glad that they paid tribute to Jim Henson frequently. His name is branded various places as is his picture. It was nice that they did that.

The Muppets is different. The tone has changed. Yes the movie is wacky, but they scaled it down in my opinion. Again it’s a love song to the Muppets. The scenario in the film is a plea for the Muppets to reunite and get attention again and really that’s what the movie itself is. It’s about putting the Muppets together again and trying to get an audience and hopefully inspire certain folks at Disney to make another Muppet and I can only dream of them doing the Muppet Show again.

It doesn’t top the Muppet Movie, but it’s damned close. Having not seen the other Muppet films recently I’d have to say this one has a good chance at being number two to the original film. And yes it has some flaws, but I’m willing to forgive them because it’s the Muppets. After all this time they made a movie and it was worth that wait. I can only hope that people will actually go see this, especially if you loved the Muppets growing up.

Ironclad

Ironclad takes place during the end of King John’s reign somewhere around the Baron Wars. The movie makes a big deal about Magna Carta, Templars, and the siege are Rochester. The movie takes more than a few liberties with history I believe.

Still, it’s not supposed to be a historical documentary so who really cares that they fudged details. They got the large scale picture right. Sort of. As far as the film is concerned  King John is forced to sign Magna Carta. Some time later he’s pissed off and invites some Danish mercenaries over to help him retake his land and kill all of the Baron’s. Some Baron’s and hired mercenaries disagree,  as does a Templar for other reasons. To stop John’s advancement they decide they have to hold Rochester since that is apparently the key to him controlling southern England. That’s the movie. Most of it is is them holed up in that tiny place. I feel like only half an hour was used to set up everything till they got there.

The movie isn’t the most violent out there. There are far worse, but there still is a fair share of blood and hacking of limbs. Actually, there are other things that disturbed me more such as punishing someone by cutting out their tongue and chopping off hands and feet. There’s also a bit towards the end where a bunch of pigs are burned alive, for a reason. Those were probably worse than the general fight scenes and that was more of a mental thing.

The action is handled pretty well. The fight scenes are pretty good for the type of film it is. I still have a hard time believing anyone can run around with a broadsword that is nearly as tall as them and use it with one hand. Still as good as the action is it really isn’t that much and it isn’t new. I tend to enjoy these kind of films and to be honest it was all something I’d seen before and I feel like the film makers were very aware of that.

The pacing didn’t help either. They get to Rochester early on and you have no change of scenery really for the rest of the movie and there isn’t much action. I think they show two or three assaults and that’s it.  A lot of the movie focuses on the characters and I guess they tried to develop them, but I didn’t really see that.

The cast was good, or at least as good as they were allowed to be. James Purefoy isn’t exactly riveting and Derek Jacobi is horribly under used. That man has amazing talent that is just wasted here (though he is still great). Brian Cox is like he is in most movies and does a good job, though again not used enough. Jason Flemyng and Mackenzie Crook are also nice, but their characters are basically just there to hack and slash. Flemyng gets a bit more attention. Kate Mara is good, but I felt like she didn’t really fit in, though that was more of a character thing. Tiberius is played by Vladimir Kulich and I kept hoping he’d get a nice speech somewhere. For basically just standing around, he caught my attention. Paul Giamatti of course plays King John. He does a really good job as far as I’m concerned. It was hard to take him seriously a few times simply because it was him, particularly during one of his infamous angry speeches. It just seemed very reminiscent of the ones he’s done before and it kind of ruined the moment. He did a hell of a job though and I’m glad the accent was just ignored.

I still really liked the movie, but there are defiantly better versions of the same thing. The director needed to either choose between making it an action, hack and slash movie or a drama, because in my mind he failed to balance the two, which I think was the intention.

Gamer

Gamer is a movie that is actually really interesting. A lot fo what it touches on has the potential to make a great movie if it were written well. Essentially the movie takes place in a world were essentially The Sims and an FPS (first person shooter) are now real virtual games. The catch being that the “character” you play is real human being.

There’s more to it than that, but it’s unimportant. The movie fails to actually explore a potential goldmine for a premise. Instead we just get basically nothing in depth. It’s just an action flick.

The Slayer sections I suppose are shot ok. It does look like it could be Call of Duty or some similar FPS. There was a lot of quick cutting here though which made it hard to watch. I understand why it was done, but it didn’t really work. That and none of those sequences are really that interesting or special. The Society sequences are just disturbing. Again, the directors/writers could have done a lot with just this, but they don’t really. The way Society is presented is that it’s home to a bunch of perverts and they go out of their way to pretty much portray any sexual fetish they can find. Again I can see the reasoning for it, but since they didn’t develop it, it just felt like it was done in bad taste.

The cast has potential, but just falls flat. Gerard Butler doesn’t really do anything but run around and look tough. Same with Terry Crews, who I feel is underestimated and poorly placed in action movies. He’s a really funny guy. Kyra Sedgwick is wasted and doesn’t do a good job. Really the only performance that was good was from Michael C. Hall and really it wasn’t that great, especially knowing how good he is.

The music choices were good though. The technology presented is also interesting as well, especially Castle’s house/fortress.

In the end the movie just misses completely. An interesting idea problem drew the names it did as well as the audiences, but the final result from the movie just doesn’t work well.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

I have to say, for better or worse I’ve always enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Each one has their flaws and I enjoy some more than others, but overall I still like the series. I can’t say that any of them are crap.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the fourth installment in the series. Now that they’ve finished the trilogy, which really was about Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightly), they went on with Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), who is the character that pretty much has stolen every movie. It’s who people are going to see anyways. On Stranger Tides picks up sort of where they left off as Jack goes searching for the Fountain of Youth. Really it’s not that different from the other films. The same outline is kind of there, but again I still stand by the fact that it works. I wouldn’t expect them to change things up too much at this point.

I liked the movie. It moved along better than the second film, though I feel that this movie lacked depth. There didn’t seem to be much heart in it. It was all about just reusing old stuff and sort of developing Barbosa and Jack a little more, though not enough and not well. For being the movie where Jack is legitimately the main character, they dropped the ball.

The acting was still solid. Johnny Depp still does a good job with the character as does Geoffrey Rush with Barbosa. Ian McShane does a good Blackbeard, though he could’ve been a bit more frightening and Penelope Cruz did a good job. Look for a brief scene with Dame Judy Dench early on.

This movie is aimed more towards a more mature audience in my mind. Things are a bit darker, more violent and gruesome. A bit more risqué in some areas as well. None of the films are really meant for young children, but this one seems to reinforce that. Again it’s the visual content, not any covert meanings. It’s not overdone though.

Still, the action sequences are still good as are the elaborate escape plans that Jack goes through. Similar humor, though not as solid as the first film. As mediocre as it was at times, it was a good movie. I mean I enjoyed myself and I’ll gladly watch it again. Really not much to say. I think most people are aware of what they’re getting into ahead of time.

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