Sunday, January 30, 2011

New type of movie: Interactive!

I heard about this stuff from and I love it. It is creative, well thought out, and beautifully made. Interactive movies are going to be one of the next best really cool things online. Chad, Matt & Rob are entertaining and do a great job. Watch and play The Treasure Hunt here:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This Patriot isn't a favorite for the Superbowl...

Back in the year 2000, when Mel Gibson was considered a respectable actor, he made a film called The Patriot. This film was very well done, even with it's similarities to Braveheart (which I will not be reviewing today). It actually gave me patriotic feelings after watching (and negative feelings for the British from the 1700s). It is loosely based upon Francis Marion (the "Swamp Fox"), though it only touched on Marion's impact on the Revolution in South Carolina.

Mel Gibson plays Benjamin Martin, a widower father in South Carolina with a bunch of kids. Because of past actions in the French and Indian War and fear for his family he refuses to fight in the Revolutionary War. But when the jerk colonel (the guy who plays Lucius Malfoy from Harry Potter) in the British army burns down his house, takes his oldest son (Heath Ledger) to be hanged, and kills his 15 year old son (Ephram from Everwood) for almost no reason, Martin has the motivation to fight and save his son. Soon he is considered by the British to be "The Ghost" and he ends up leading a militia.

With amazing visuals and non-cliche storyline, this film is not Hollywoodized or cheesy. It shows watchers the cruelty and reality of the Revolutionary War. It is quite historically accurate, though not perfect and is an excellent historical film (not documentary). This film is really well made, with really great acting.

Thoroughly enjoyable, I definitely recommend this film. The Patriot runs 165 minutes and is rated R for violence. Definitely not a film to show your children. I give it solid 9 ramheads out of 10.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How can infinite come to an end?

I liked him in Juno, but he plays almost the same person in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008). You know, Michael Cera, the fat kid from Arrested Development, who stars in alot of almost indie/mainstream films (he's not fat anymore).

Nick and Norah is kind of a stumbling film with minimal plot and likable characters. Nick is a nice guy, who recently broke up with a girl and is trying to get her back by burning CDs for her. She immediately throws them away, because she's a bitch. [Excuse my French.] Norah (Kat Dennings) is the one who picks up the mixed CDs and loves them. She also happens to need him to pretend to be her boyfriend. That is where it starts.

Through a long night of trying to locate Norah's drunken friend and searching for the legendary band "Where's Fluffly" in New York, the 17 year olds end up together and, though they had only met a few hours before, end up having sex. Yup. Up until this point I was enjoying the film. Nick and Norah are both nice people, but I don't like how our society requires sex for a relationship to be legitimate. Doesn't anyone wait until marriage anymore? Movies and TV seem to tell us otherwise. I still have hope that people don't all act like they see others in the media.

Another question I have is where are their parents? How can seven 17-year-olds wander NYC all night without even a call from parents? I'm sure it happens, but seriously? Oh well...

This film is entertaining, the characters are likeable, but the plot doesn't go very far. The characters don't develop too much either. Also, the sex, though not shown on screen, is annoying.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist runs 90 minutes and is rated PG-13. I give it a slightly above average 6 ramheads out of 10.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Boy, let me introduce you to....World

Growing up, I was an avid TGIF watcher on ABC. The crowning jewel of that once fabled Friday night lineup was Boy Meets World. This past fall Lionsgate Media re-released the first 3 seasons of BMW and in December they released the 4th season. I really hope that the 5-7 seasons will be released, but I think that depends on how well they do. Therefore, I urge you to consider, as I have, purchasing the first four seasons of this epic classic.

The DVDs have very limited special features, but they are really cheap as far as TV seasons go. Definitely recommended.

Michael Jackson has met his match

Recently, I watched two thrillers that both impressed me. Shutter Island (2010) is more of a brainy thriller, while The Silence of the Lambs (1991) is more of a creepy thriller. Both are very well made films.

Shutter Island stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a U.S. Marshal investigating the disappearance of a patient at Shutter Island mental hospital. Through some pretty creepy happenings and a massive storm, the good marshal finds out some things, though not really what he was looking for...

DiCaprio never lets me down. He is a spectacular, hardworking actor who has a knack for picking good films. The film kept the suspense up until the end. The very end. The last line even. Make sure you watch carefully.

Shutter Island runs 138 minutes and is rated R. Not really a family film. I give it a solid 8 ramheads out of 10.
The Silence of the Lambs stars Jodie Foster as an FBI trainee who was given the task of interviewing the notorious Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a serial killing Psychiatrist cannibal who is locked up in high security prison. Dr. Lecter is exceedingly creepy, very well mannered and really intelligent. Foster's character is interviewing with the intent of catching another serial killer named Buffalo Bill who likes to skin his victims.

Hopkins and Foster are both brilliant in this classic. The thrill and suspense (and creepiness) never lets up until the end. The Silence of the Lambs runs 118 minutes and is rated R. Also not a family film. I give it 9 ramheads out of 10 for being a "classic" that didn't let me down.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The American Dream is a Sham

The feeling I get after watching Revolutionary Road (2008) is that of sadness, hopelessness, and warning. Let me explain.

The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (together for the first time since Titanic) as Frank and April Wheeler, a young and "special" couple with two kids living in a suburban neighborhood. They were the couple that the others were always jealous of. Outwardly, they were perfect. Inwardly, they both were quite miserable.

Frank hates his job and is getting little love at home. April fails at acting and isn't getting much love from Frank. Neither of them are happy and they both just expect the love to come. They live in the remembrance of when they were in love. The excitement is gone, but they just expect it to be there. They think that moving to Paris will save their relationship. Through many regrettable acts, many fights, and much stubbornness, this couple almost makes it. I won't give any more away.

While watching this film, I couldn't help but wonder if their relationship with each other would be different if they had faith. Not faith in each other--though that wouldn't hurt--but faith in God. They both are so selfish, there is no room for love. Faith would change that. Just a thought.

I also noticed that if they really put the effort into loving each other, they both would be better off. They place the blame for their problems on each other and "this place of hopeless emptiness", while they should really look at themselves and figure out what they each could do for each other. Love is not easy and it is not just feelings.

The film is really brilliant. It was very difficult to watch at times, but it really has a lot of meaning and though it is set in the 50s, has great application to couples today. The acting was phenomenal. DiCaprio and Winslet are two of the best in the business and they work so well together. Their characters are so real. They are not transparent; they are deep and emotional. The music really helps set the mood and is very well written.

Overall, I was impressed. Revolutionary Road runs 118 minutes and is rated R. NOT a family film. I give it 8 ramheads out of 10.

Paranormal Activity: Scary?

I just finished watching Paranormal Activity (2007) and have to be really wasn't scary. This low budget ($15,000) horror film is the type of film that amplifies your feelings and expectations for it. I was expecting to see some cheap effects and "weird" stuff happening. I got just that. If you expect to be scared, you probably will be. If you aren't a Christian, you will probably be even worse off because you can't find comfort in God and His promises.

This film is shot "home video" style. There is no music, no computer generated effects (except for the end--which is really not the original ending), no real script. The actors just got an outline of the story and improvised it along. Because of this movie's success they made another (and another). I probably won't see them.

I wasn't too impressed, but I watched it because of the hype. Paranormal Activity runs 86 minutes and is rated R for language(there is quite a bit of it...). Not really a family film. I give it an "I-could-have-made-it-if-I-wanted-to" 3 ramheads out of 10.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Jimmy's Sci-fi Corner: Dinotopia

Remember the last TV mini-series you saw on regular network television? For me, it was Dinotopia (2002), the 4 hour epic originating in James Gurney's children books. Essentially, two brothers crash a plane, and wash up on shore of an island. The island is filled with dinosaurs coexisting with people in a utopia. But with every utopia comes problems. They eventually travel in a submarine and try to save Dinotopia from the carnivores and the island-wide power outage.

The story is really interesting, the plot is so-so, and the acting is good at times and sub par at times. David Thewlis's Cyrus Crabb is my favorite character followed closely by Katie Carr's Marion. The visuals are really cool even though some of the dinosaurs look fake, but if you accept that this is an under funded TV mini-series, you'll be fine. I mean, some of the visuals in ABC's Lost looked fake, but we still loved that show to the end, or at least I did.

With all its flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed the Dinotopia miniseries (which ABC made into a horribly written and acted TV series that didn't last a whole season.) It runs 250 minutes and is a family friendly flick. I give it 7 ramheads out of 10.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Wonderful Classic

My parents watch It's a Wonderful Life (1947) every single Christmas and for the first time, I watched it all the way through. I was really impressed with the amount of humor, the warmth, and the message...all without color.

George Bailey is a talented, likable, above average guy living in Bedford Falls. Bedford Falls has the opposite of opportunity for a guy like him. Through many different happenings, he is constantly held back from his opportunities. Even through all that he is wonderfully successful, marries a wonderful woman and has wonderful children. But he is tempted to suicide after a horrible mistake is made at his business.

God sends an angel (second class) to save him. This classic is original, heartwarming and shows that one person can have an huge impact on those around him.

It's a Wonderful Life runs 130 minutes of black and white awesomeness. It is a great family film and shows that the bells and whistles of technology don't make a movie. I give it 10 ramheads out of 10.