Friday, June 29, 2012

Madea's Witness Protection Review

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 I did not want to see this movie. I had no interest in seeing it and was not particularly happy when my mom dragged me to see it with my sister. And as i expected i didn't particularly enjoy this movie. Was it bad? Well..its not insultingly bad or anything, it just isn't good. The jokes fall flat most of the time and acting is just amazingly uncaring.

First let me say something. I do not hate Tyler Perry. Honestly I respect the man in a way. He makes successful comedy movies that don't resort to swearing or toilet humor to get laughs...for the most part. That being said..I enjoy things with swearing and toilet humor. I like toilet humor, sure its low brow but I don't care. It makes me laugh. But I respect Tyler Perry for bring able to make successful movies without doing that.  But honestly....i don't really like his movies. They're ok i guess, they're just not my kind of movies.

The only movie hes ever made that i honestly like and think is a pretty good movie was his first, Diary of a Mad Black Woman. It was the first movie by him and it was the first Madea movie, and honestly, it's pretty good. It has pretty good morals involving family and love and such and paints a pretty decent picture of an abusive relationship and why people act they way they do. Its a decent movie with some pretty good acting, good writing, and some good laughs.

This movie though..its just not very funny. The jokes are horrible and stale and every performance is so uninspired its just kind of sad. Eugene Levy is usually a pretty funny guy but here..he plays it so over the top its just really annoying. Denise Richards, Danielle Campbell, and Devan Leos, who play Levy's wife, daughter, and son respectfully, are all terrible. They so drab and dull and its like they don't want to be in the movie, but they have nothing better to do. The only person who cares in the movie is, well, Tyler Perry. Hes the only actor in it that actually tries to deliver the lines like a good actor.

Even with Tyler Perry trying his damndest to make some good jokes, its not a very funny movie. There's the odd joke here and there that made me laugh a little, but all of them are limited pretty much to Perry or one of the characters he plays. Every other character has few to no funny jokes. There's a side-plot with Lil Romeo that really could have just been left out of the whole movie and it wouldn't of barely changed anything.

I wouldn't recommend this movie. Its slow, uninspired, and just not funny. The acting is dull and wooden with Perry the only person who appears to be actually trying. The jokes for the most part fall waaaaaay far away from getting laughs and its just not a very good movie. but i'm not really the target audience for the movie i guess, considering outside of Diary of a Mad Black Woman i haven't really cared for any of Perry's films. I think maybe the time has come for him to stop with the MAdea character.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Review

 Seth Grahame-Smith is one of the most imaginative authors around at the moment. Who else would look  at Pride and Prejudice and go " Yeah, it's ok, but you know what would make it better? Zombies." Well maybe alot of us thought it, but none of us turned it into a bestselling book.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter was a book by Grahame-Smith published in 2010 about the secret diaries of Abraham Lincoln that revealed his vampire hunting secret. The book, surprisingly, is played extremely straight. With it being a pretty accurate account of Lincoln's life, just with vampires. Its an amazing book, that if it had been silly would of probably sucked, but its the whole point of playing it straight that makes it so good.

The movie plays it pretty straight as well, with relatively little to no humor and a rather depressing scene where Lincoln's 10 year old son dies. The only thing that's kinda not serious about the film are the action sequences, which while cool as shit, are rather over the top.

Benjamin Walker plays Lincoln as he rises from humble beginnings to the president of the United States. Dominic Cooper plays his mentor Henry who teaches him to hunt vampires despite being a vampire himself. He has two companions Joshua Speed, played by Jimmi Simpson, and William Johnson, played by Anthony Mackie, and of course his wife Mary Todd, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. All the actors do a great job, but its Walker as Lincoln who really shines. The antagonist is Adam played by Rufus Sewell, and I have to commend the film makers for not making him the standard over the top villain that plagues most movies today.

Timur Bekmambetov does a great job directing and is a very stylish director. I saw the movie with two friends and one of them complained about all the slow-mo used in the action sequences and while I admit that, yes, it is quite a bit, it never really bothered me much. There's a couple really neat action sequences, one involving a fight with Lincoln versus about a dozen vampires in a plantation house, another a stampede of horses, and another in and on top of a train.

So, is Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter a perfect movie? Well, no. It has a few tiny flaws and there are quite a few changes from the book, but since the film was written by Grahame-Smith the changes didn't really bother me. It has good dialogue with quite a few bad ass sayings and some good narration. It's directed well, very stylish, and the actors all play their part well. I enjoyed watching it and would recommend.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Brave Review

 Pixar is one of the most amazing film studios running. Every movie they make, excluding maybe the Cars films, are instant classics and should be watched by anyone of any age. Even adults love Pixar, and when a company that makes kids movies is loved by adults it has to be doing something right.

Brave is the new film from Pixar and revolves around Princess Merida, voiced by Kelly MacDonald, and her struggle with her over-bearing mother Queen Elinor, voiced by Emma Thompson. Her father King Fergus, Billy Connolly, doesn't care as much what she does, and her triplet brothers are there to provide some excellent comic relief.

Brave's cast of voice actors is stellar with particular attention paid to Connolly and Thompson. MacDonald is also very good and there are great supporting roles supplied by Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane,and Julie Walters. McKidd, Ferguson, and Coltrane all play the heads of other Scots clans and they all are funny and well cast. Walters plays the slightly dotty old witch and does a good job.

About halfway through the movie Merida gets the witch to supply her with a magic cake that will change her mother, thereby changing her fate. Unbeknownst to her the cake will turn her mother into a bear. This sounds rather stupid, but is actually done really really well. The bear is still very human and the bonding scenes between Merida and her mother, as the bear, are actually rather touching.

The only problem I really have with this movie is that as far as the story goes, it seems more like a Disney movie than a Pixar one. I know Pixar is a department of Disney, but Pixar has always kinda done their own thing and it always works excellently. They have a way of telling inventive stories in new exciting ways. The plot of Brave though is very much an over-used Disney one. Of a girl in a position she initially doesn't like, gets it changed often through magical means, and over the course of the film realizes that she likes the position she's in and everything is returned back to normal.

That doesn't make Brave a bad movie. Not at all, it's Pixar for god's sake. It may be an old, over-used story, but that doesn't stop Pixar into making it a damn good movie. All the old things are there and they don't exactly do anything new with them besides maybe the bear part, but its all done so spectacularly and with such deliberate care that you can't help but like it.

I enjoyed this movie immensely. The animation is absolutely gorgeous, the voice acting is stellar,  the music is all folksy and fits the setting, and all the comic relief is actually funny instead of annoying. The animation has to be noted again because it is probably Pixar's most beautiful film, every scene seems to be animated with such love and care and every detail is so finely tuned. Super special props to the short film La Luna that plays before the movie, which was an inventive, magical little film that made me feel like a kid.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why Peter Dinklage is Amazing

There are alot of good actors on TV. Take Bryan Cranston for example. He was a little known character actor known mostly for his role as the dim-witted, but loveable dad on Malcolm in the Middle. Now hes dominating the silver screen as Walter White in Breaking Bad. Or Matt Smith from Doctor Who, I know that's an odd choice, but seriously, go watch that show and tell me Smith isn't brilliant as The Doctor. One of the best examples I can think of is Michael C. Hall as Dexter on Showtime's..well...Dexter. But my favorite actor on TV right now by far, is Peter Dinklage.

Who, you ask? To that I answer, where the hell have you been? If you haven't seen Game of Thrones by now your missing out, and even if you haven't chances are you've been hearing about Peter Dinklage's performance as the dwarf Tyrion Lannister.

Its no secret to anyone I know that he is by far my favorite character on the show. I've praised him twice now on this blog alone. So, I thought I'd better just write my thoughts on him and why I think he's the best actor on TV.

A performance like Dinklage's in Game of Thrones comes very very rarely. Like Michael C. Hall in Dexter for example, when that show came out, no matter what people thought of the show everyone was pretty much unanimous, Hall was amazing. Dinklage is no different. If you've read the books you have an idea of Tyrion's wit, charm, intelligence, and all around badassery. He's one of the most fleshed out and well written characters in the book and is most people's favorite and no matter what nefarious deed he does you always like him.

Dinklage's performance is special, because even though Game of Thrones is full of amazing performances and pretty much every actor does their job exceedingly well, he steals every scene he's in. Every. Single. Scene. I praised Sean Bean for making me believe the character of Ned Stark in the first season, but Peter Dinklage went beyond that. He essentially is the character of Tyrion. Everything about his performance is absolutely flawless, right down to the tiniest of details. He embodies Tyrion perfectly. From the mannerisms, the wit, oh especially the wit, to the sarcasm and manipulation. Dinklage pulls it off perfectly. Everything right down to his accent is done with every ounce of raw, pure talent in his body.

Peter Dinklage is an amazingly talented actor and explodes like a nuclear bomb as Tyrion. He brings all his raw energy and superb talent to the role and it shows. He already won an Emmey for his role, and if God is real, will continue to win awards until hes won every single one available. If Game of Thrones was a movie I have no doubt he would win an Academy Award.

Peter Dinklage continues to prove himself as a brilliant force to be reckoned with in the acting world and is by far my favorite actor on TV.

The Only Bad Actor in Game of Thrones

Let me make this clear immediately. I LOVE Dany. Dany is one of the strongest, most well-written women ever and her chapters in the novels are some of my favorites. George R.R. Martin wrote a fantastic character with a great backstory and one of the most interesting storylines in the books.

That being said. The actress who plays Dany in the HBO series is TERRIBLE. Let me make another thing clear, she doesn't ruin the character, but it makes her scenes hard to watch for me. It actually took me till mid-way through season 2 to realize this. I think my brain was actively trying to push away the information.

Dany is played by Emilia Clark in the TV show and shes terrible. She delivers her lines like a young actress with no formal training, but doesn't have the natural skill to pull it off. Every line comes out slightly..staged, fake kind of. Like she's actively struggling to say it with the right amount of emotion instead of just doing it.

The reason this is such a big disappointment for me is that every other character was cast so perfectly. Sean Bean was fantastic as Ned Stark. He embodied the character, you truly believed he was an honorable man, maybe honorable to a dangerous fault. The point is Sean Bean is a great actor and made the character pop, he made it believable, as was his job as an actor. Another good example is Tyrion. Peter Dinklage is perfect. Literally perfect for that part. He delivers every line exactly like he should. Every mannerism he has, every action he takes, every line he delivers, is perfect. Everything about the performance screams awards. And he deserves every single one of them. Which ones? Doesn't matter, every award. Basically that cast in the show is perfect, not every actor is as good as Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage, but they play their part and they play it exceptionally well.

And there's my issue with Emilia Clark's performance. Maybe she's not a bad actor, maybe in another role in a different show or movie she'd be good. I don't know. But in this show, surrounded by all these amazing actors who are all at the top of their game she comes off as stilted and unreal. Every line out of her mouth comes off like its being read off a cue card a few feet behind the camera.

Which makes me mad, because as I said before Dany is one of my favorite characters and is one of the strongest females characters I've read in a book in a long time. She's a strong independent woman who has an excellent character arc and ends up ruling the badass tribe of Dothraki savages. Dany does all that, and with a better actress it would be believable, but with this one it just doesn't work to me.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hunter Prey Review

 Hunter Prey was made for less than half a million dollars, with five credited actors, and written and directed by Sandy Collora. And it is awesome.

The only credit to Collora's name worth mentioning is a short film called Batman: Dead End, where Batman fights both Alien and the Predator. Which was made purely to how off his directing skills, which worked rather well.

Hunter Prey was made for virtually nothing in this day and age and yet it never looks that cheap. Filmed with the revolutionary Red One camera the movie has a very polished, professional look to it. The makeup is awesome and realistic and the few effects there are, are actually very well done. The actors embody their roles and do a way better than job than you would expect out of such a low budget independent film.

The plot goes like this: an alien ship crashes on a planet that seems to be uninhabited and is apparently comprised of nothing but desert. The squad starts off with four soldiers, but three are picked off by the escaped prisoner they have to capture, alive. Alive because the aliens planet is in distress of being destroyed and only the prisoner has the knowledge to stop it. Eventually it is down to the prisoner and the last remaining soldier, Centauri 7. The film is essentially one long chase scene with Centauri 7 trying his damndest to catch the prisoner.

The movie is alot better made than you would expect. With great acting, writing and direction the film impressed me. There's a twist about 30 minutes into the movie that blew my mind. Did not see it coming at all. Basically, this movie is very good. Its well made and acted, has a fantastic twist, and although ends rather abruptly, kept me entertained. I'd recommend it, but only to film nerds. The average movie watcher probably won't like it as much as a film nerd would.

Game of Thrones Season 1 Review

 Game of Thrones is awesome. Not even gonna beat around the bush. This is a kick-ass show based on a kick-ass book series full of kick-ass actors and made by kick-ass people. In short, I love this show. From the directing to the writing and especially the acting this show is everything you could want out of an violence and sex filled HBO show based on a bunch of violence and sex filled books.

A Song of Fire and Ice is a book series written by George R. R. Martin. I'm not even done reading the first book and I've fallen in love with them. They're unabashed in their sexual nature and full of violence. It's everything i could hope in a mid-evil fantasy book series and more. So, we have a show based on amazing book series with fleshed out characters, dragons, violence, and more sex than porn? What the hell could go wrong? Not a whole lot actually.

The show was adapted by David Benioff, whose biggest credits are writing the screenplays for 25th Hour (based on his book), Troy, and Brothers, and D.B. Weiss, who wrote a book called Lucky Wander Boy. From what i can tell from the part of the book I've read, which is about a third of it, they stay pretty faithful to it almost entirely.

There's a very large ensemble cast helmed by Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark, who does a fantastic job. There's his children: sons Robb (Richard Madden) and Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright); daughters Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams), his toddler son Rickon, his ward Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) and finally, his bastard son Jon Snow (Kit Harington).  All of these people are relative newcomers who all do a fine job in the roles they are given.

The other house to note is the King Robert Baratheon, played by Mark Addy who does a great job as the fat and jolly, but ill-tempered and quick to anger King. His wife Cersei, of the House Lannister, who is the most cold hearted evil bitch in the world, played greatly by Lena Hedly, the queen's twin brother Jamie played by Danish actor  Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays a slimy douche exceedingly well. The Queen has three children fathered by(SPOILER ALERT) her brother, the only notable one being Prince Joffrey, the most evil spoiled little bastard you'll ever want punch in the face, stab in the stomach until his entrails leak out of his pompous ass and then rip out his still beating heart and feed it to a Direwolf, played smugly by Jack Gleeson, and gaurded by the burned-faced Hound.

Then on presumably the other side of a very large ocean we have the annoying as shit true heir to the throne Viserys Targaryean, played by Harry Lloyd, who is a complete bastard to his sister Daenerys 'Danny', played by Emilia Clarke, and sells her to the badass Dothraki leader Khal Drogo, Jason Momoa, where she comes to be in love with him and blah blah.

The acting all across the board is pretty stellar. Every actor plays his or her part extremely well, with special praise to Sean Bean. The only actor I have thus far left out is by far my favorite performance and favorite character, that is Tyrion Lannister played amazingly by Peter Dinklage. Dinklage really hits home with this role, embodying the wit and intelligence of the character and delivering every line perfectly, like he had been born to play Tyrion. Every scene with him is fantastic and he lights up the screen with his absolutely brilliant and spot-on performance.

The plot is intricate with multiple story arcs and settings. Many characters are introduced and the show gives you alot to follow. Lord Stark is invited by the King to be Hand of the King, after his last hand dies, hinter that he was murdered by the Lannisters. You quickly find out that every Lannister is a spoiled, evil, manipulative, douchebag with the exception of Tyrion. Danny is sold to Khal Drogo by her brother so he can have an army to take back his kingdom.

The stories are intricate and multiple, but aren't impossible to follow, you soon get a feel for every character and their setting and job. You become familiar with the characters you like and don't like.

Really, what I'm trying to say is that Game of Thrones is brilliant. It's one of the best shows on TV right now and will almost certainly continue to be so until its end. Its well directed, well written, and brilliantly acted and I recommend it highly. Its one of my favorite shows and as soon as I started watching I couldn't stop. It sucks you in with its compelling storytelling and memorizing acting. Its a brilliant show with a brilliant premise and an amazing execution. If you haven't watched it yet, I implore you to do so immediately. You will not be sorry.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman Review


Snow White and the Huntsman is a strange movie for me to review. Mostly because unlike some of my friends who I went to see the movie with, I wasn't really looking forward to it. It didn't look terrible or anything, it just didn't look that appealing to me. I was very wrong. This movie was so much better than I ever would of expected from it.

The film is helmed by Rupert Sanders in his feature film debut and $170 million is alot of money to give to man whose previous credits consist of a handful of commercials. That being said he does a remarkable job with this film, its shot gorgeously and I am looking forward to see more from him. The effects are good, good score, ect., what I'm trying to say is that it is a very well made film.

Kristen Stewart stars as the eponymous Snow White and she does a..decent job. Its really hard for me to say that, but she does. Besides her accent, which slips in and out throughout the whole film, she did ok. The only problem i had was that i didn't really buy the whole; she's supposed to be more beautiful than Charlize Theron bullshit, seriously? Have you seen that woman?

Speaking of Charlize Theron she gives a really weird performance in this movie. Its probably one of the most over the top, scenery chewing performances I've seen in a long time, and yet i liked it. It fit the whole over the top fairy tale nature of the film.

Chris Hemsworth to me was the best performance. Hes shaping up to be one of the best new actors around and I look forward to absolutely everything hes in. He embodies his roles and makes them believable, plays every part very well, a strong new force to be reckoned with I think.

The dwarves have some interesting casting thrown in there. The most notable names that pop up are: Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Nick Frost, and Bob Hoskins. They all do a good job and everything, but here's my beef with that casting. Why aren't any of the dwarves played by actual dwarves? Why not give a great dwarf actor like Peter Dinklage a role playing a dwarf in the big budgeted Snow White? That being said the actors playing the dwarves do a fine job and I enjoyed their performances.

The plot itself is, you know, Snow White. Everyone knows it, beautiful evil witch can only be taken down by beautiful girl, an apple is eaten a kiss is needed, blah blah blah. Its told fine here, there is a part, however, where the queen turns shape-shifts into one of Snow White companions and somehow knows all of their childhood experiences so, there's a plot hole I suppose, but its easy enough to overlook and didn't take away from my over-all enjoyment of the movie.

So all and all I enjoyed the movie, its alot darker than I expected it would be with a particularly sad death in the last third of the movies. Delightfully well made, well directed, written, acted and shot. Over all I supposed i did enjoy this movie and would recommend it.


Hi my name is Ben. I really like movies, kinda sad that that's the most interesting thing about myself i can think of. Hmmmmm...i like video games too and books, but mainly movies. I really love movies, watch em all the time. New, old, doesn't matter, if it looks remotely interesting to me i'll watch it. That's all i can think of for now. But i'll be back.