Archive | March, 2011

Sneak Peek: New Pirates of the Caribbean trailer

22 Mar

This past weekend when I saw Battle: Los Angeles, there was a trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. When the trailer finished, one of the group of high schoolers sitting in front of me whispered to a friend “It’s not even in 3D,” which amused me to no end. Anyways, for those of you keeping track, this is the 4th installment of the Pirates franchise. 4th. Does anyone else feel like Disney is beating a dead horse here? Had Oscartini been up and running in 2007, a review of Pirates 3: At World’s End would’ve included  “uneven”, “jerky” and “Why the F did they drag this to a third movie?”

Regardless of whether this was an ill-advised move on Disney’s part or not, it’s still happening!

There’s just something about Johnny Depp as good ol’ Captain Jack that is appealling, and I don’t know that I’m willing to miss Keith Richards’ turn as the elder Captain Sparrow, so let’s be serious: I’ll probably see it, despite the glaring absence of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly. Is PotC4 on your summer movie list?

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In Theater: Battle: Los Angeles

21 Mar

So you know how when you criticize something, it’s nice to give some good feedback too? I’m going to try to do that for Battle: Los Angeles, the new alien invasion movie starring Aaron Eckhart. Here goes: 1) it kicks off with a rousing verse of California Love . 2) It’s an end-of-the-world movie, and I LOVE end-of-the-world movies. 3) Michelle Rodriguez reprised her role from Avatar and basically played the same character here (is that a good thing?). 4) Umm…yeah. Ne-yo and Tom Brady’s first baby mama (Bridget Moynahan, for those of you keeping score at home) were in it? I got nothing. The first 2 were a stretch as is.

For someone who loves this genre of movies (some of my favs are 28 Days Later, The Day After Tomorrow and my all time fav, Independence Day), I was prepared to like Battle: LA. I really was. I’m ambivilant about Aaron Eckhart; he’s kind of foxy and he was good in The Dark Knight, so that seemed like it could work. But work it did not. The movie follows Staff Sargent Mike Nantz and his…staff? Squadron? Whatever, his marine people as they try to evacuate civilians from an LA police station before the air force annihilates what’s left of L.A. following an alien invasion. Sounds easy, right? But with crazy aliens in robot suits on the loose, not so much. Here, the plot gets a little convoluted; I’ll spare you the details, but there’s a lot of back and forth as to the point of the movie. Paired with the fact that the story takes place over a less than 24 hour frame (more, if you include a flashback to set the scene), you’re in for a bumpy ride with this movie.

I can think of several reasons why I kinda hate this movie. I’m fresh off a serious Oscar nominee watching streak (previous movies seen in theater: True Grit, The King’s Speech, The Fighter), which perhaps has (at least temporarily) raised my standards. Maybe I was disappointed at the lack of back story here; not enough of the “why are aliens invading our planet?” (thought you do get s teeny bit of this), and too much “let’s blow some alien ish up.”  Or…it just sucked. I’m inclined to call it all three, but man. I really thought this movie was terrible. Once again, I was fooled by a half-way decent trailer. It seems so much better when condensed to 2 minutes!

There is a caveat here: this seems like it might have done well if marketed as a summer blockbuster and released Memorial Day weekend or even leading up to the Fourth of July weekend. It has the action and explosions and all that to have worked with that kind of billing. I think a mid-March release, which is usually a slow time of year anyway, might have been a mistake. But, I can see the producers and studio people thinking this might work in Battle: LA’s favor, since there’s little competition.

Either way, it fell flat for me. If you’re inclined to see Battle: Los Angeles, wait for DVD. Or better yet, watch Independence Day and relish in the fact that you have $10 in your pocket, and I don’t.

Guess what happens in 119 days?

18 Mar

The epic ending of the Harry Potter series happens, that’s what. A behind the scenes trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 has just been posted, and it.is.amazing. WHO’S EXCITED??

Happy Friday!

An Ode to Netflix

16 Mar

If that VH1 show “Best Week Ever” was still on, I’d nominate Netflix. It is #winning in a BIG way. Now, I’ve previously mentioned my affinity for Netflix, but seriously: it makes me so happy.

Just today it was announced that Netflix is making a foray into airing original programing, making it an even bigger threat to the networks and premium cable providers (like my also beloved HBO). A survey from Goldman Sachs (hello, reputable?) this week also found that more people prefer Netflix to YouTube. Granted,  the two are generally used for different purposes (long stream vs. short stream), but still-YouTube is a video giant. For Netflix to dominate consumer mindshare is HUGE for them.

I watch movies and tv shows through Netflix all the time. The main reason for my adoption is the many options and various levels of convenience I have with the service. For example, right now I have: the second disc of the sixth season of the show Weeds, 35 movies saved in my instant stream queue and another 18 movies saved in my DVD queue. That’s many hours of entertainment. BUT WAIT…must I watch all these movies from my laptop? NO SIR, I do not. Thanks to my handy dandy Nintendo WII, I’m able to stream all my instantly available movies right to my awesome TV. And stream I’ve done, with over 30 movies and several seasons of shows in my instant stream history.

Though everything isn’t perfect in Netflix world (I do wish there was a way I could pay extra to rent new releases through the service and I hope the instant streaming selection continues to improve), I’m a huge fan of this service, and have really come to rely on it for my movie-watching needs.

Are you a Netflix convert like me? Or are you more of an On-Demand/Hulu/RedBox/Library rental type? Or, if you’re more of a in-theater person, you might be interested in this Groupon, for a $6 ticket to see The Lincoln Lawyer, with Matthew McConaughey. How do you watch most of your movies these days? Leave your favorites in the comments!

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Characters Welcome: 5 Adapted Favorites

10 Mar

So way back in November, I compiled my top 5 favorite original characters (that is, characters that first appeared as characters in the film I cited.) Now that I’m over the Oscars, it’s time for the long-delayed second post that gives my top 5 adapted characters. These peeps were originally elsewhere, be it a book, TV show or (gasp!) even a comic book. This set of characters is a bit more complex than the orignals; since these characters were originally created for another medium, the actor/actress that brought them to life on the big screen had more responsibility than had they portrayed an original character.

In no particular order, here are my favorite adapted characters; leave yours in the comments!

  • Harry Potter, Harry Potter movies 1-8

OK, so I know I said no particular order, but Mr. Harry James Potter might be my favorite adapted movie character of all time. He’s such a dynamic character in the book series, that I, along with every other HP fan in the world, was wary that anyone could bring him to life on the big screen. But, Daniel Radcliffe turned out to be P.E.R.F.E.C.T. as Harry. Why do I love HP so much? Well, let’s see: he’s a great friend, he’s loyal, he’s brave and he puts his life on the line to defeat evil and avenge his parent’s death! C’MON! If that’s not the makings of a great character, I don’t know what is.

  • Tony Stark, Iron Man

My lone fav from the comic world, Tony Stark is by far the most smokin’ character. Iron Man also seems to be the role that my real-life favorite Robert Downey Jr. was born to play. I could probably watch both Iron Man movies on a loop, and be happy with it. Tony Stark is very much like a honey badger in that “he doesn’t give a shit, he just takes what he wants.” Haven’t seen the honey badger? What a good excuse to embed it here for you! (You’re welcome)

Seriously though, I love me some Tony Stark. He’s charming, hilarious and swoops around in a badass iron suit, that he built in his secret genius lair. What’s not to love?

  • Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City (more 1 than 2, but still…)

My only favorite character adapted from both the small screen AND  book, Carrie Bradshaw is someone single girls everywhere strive to emulate. Doesn’t matter that the second movie kind of sucked; this character had the weight of 7 years of a successful show behind her as she made her big screen debut. Even if you’re not a Sarah Jessica Parker fan, you have to (should) admit that Carrie is a fabulous character. By no means perfect (she was almost the old lady who lived in her shoes), she went through almost every issue a single gal could go through, from all kinds of relationships and hilarious situations, all with her three best girlfriends at her side. The epitome of a chick flick/show, Carrie gets a special place on the list!

  • Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind

Me and the front door from Tara!

Unsurprisingly, one of the most epic stories of all time produced one of the best characters the big screen has seen, even after all these years (GwtW hit the big screen in 1939!) Katie Scarlett O’Hara, played by Vivian Leigh, is an amazing character. Kind of a bitch and VERY headstrong, Scarlett was definitely a woman before her time. Accustomed to living in luxury, the Civil War did NOT agree with her. She was used to getting what she wanted and basically threw some out of control tantrums when she didn’t. Scarlett is not an easy character to like by a long shot; she tries to steal other people’s husbands, lies and cheats her way through life, all while looking out for number one. But, you still find yourself routing for her to survive, and as anyone who has read the book or seen the movie knows, survive she does.

  • Michael Corleone, The Godfather part 1 & 2

With the caveat that it’s not OK to hit your wife when she wants to take the children out of the mafia family, Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone is an excellent, complex character in two amazing movies (I’ve still yet to see the third one, but hear I’m not missing out. True/false?) Created by Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name, Michael continues the theme of my love for characters who are badass, and might be the most badass of them all. Besides the murdering that happens in the mafia, Michael is a ultimately a man doing what he can for his family (both actual family and the “Family,” if you’re picking up what I’m putting down.) In both movies, you get to accompany him on a shall-we-say, unique journey, as he first strives to avoid his role in the mob, then comes to embrace and basically own it. Disclaimer: I’ve always had a strange affinity for organized crime; I blame this on “Married to the Mob,” as seen on 90’s network television.

So there you have it, my 5 adapted character favorites. Are any of your favorites here? Who’d I miss? Let me know in the comments!

Why the Academy Awards were a Dud

3 Mar

Dud.Dud.Dud.

Yep, this year’s award show is gaining popular consenus on one thing: it kind of sucked.

From The Carpetbagger:

“One of the worst Oscar telecasts in history.”

“Dead. In. The. Water.”

“James Franco played a guy who cut off his own arm. Why couldn’t he play a guy who likes Anne Hathaway?”

Viewers were disappointed (ratings were down from last year), and despite its hype as a young show hosted by young stars, it seems old and fuddy-duddyesque.

But what happened? Why did a show that seemed to have so much promise sink? Here are a few of the reasons I think this was a suckfest!

  • It wasn’t funny

If the best that the writers of the onstage material could do was throw Kirk Douglas out there to add some humor to the show, you know there’s a larger overall problem here. From the lack of any kind of actual monologue to presenters that just kind of came out, gave their award, and peaced, I thought the show as a whole was seriously unfunny.

Exception: despite many critics and fans calling the opening segment tired, I liked seeing Franco and Hathaway appearing in some of this year’s nominees. I also enjoyed the autotune the movies video.

Exception to the exception: What the heck was up with the segment ending with a Back to the Future shoutout? SO random!

  • There were many a missed opportunity

When Anne Hathaway started her not-so-thinly veiled version of “On My Own” directed at former Oscar host Hugh Jackman, tell me, was I the ONLY ONE that thought the viewing audience would be treated to a fantastical duet? I hope not, because that would’ve been awesome. And then to follow that non-starter with James Franco coming out in drag for no reason except “you got to wear a tux, so I’m wearing this dress,” I just thought there were missed opportunities to bring the funny back (see number 1).

  • There was an awkward flow to the show

Now, this isn’t anything that I feel was specific to this show, but I just thought that the whole paying homage to Hollywood in year’s gone by was a little bit confusing. It felt somewhat out of place to randomly mention movies and briefly show them on the big screen, and then transition into the awards that maybe that movie had won before, or maybe not. I wasn’t a fan of that.

  • There were no surprises in any of the awards

No upsets, no real surprises, nothing unexpected; as far as OMG moments, this show was unfortunately lacking. Despite Melissa Leo dropping the Oscars first f-bomb in its history, the Oscars were, well, boring. This aspect could’ve been offset if there had been stronger hosts…which takes me to:

  • Bring back the comedians/actors who can actually host!

No offense to Anne and James BUT…they just didn’t cut it. They’ve both shown that they have the capability to be funny actors, but this wasn’t an acting job (thought at times you couldn’t exactly be sure of that…was Anne “acting” super peppy and Franco “acting” aloof and uninterested?, or…not) and they both came across as not exactly what you expected or particularly wanted in hosts.

Hopefully, next year’s Oscar telecast can bring the viewers back, by spicing it up and bringing back the funny.

Do you think you’ll tune in next year? Who do you think should be asked to host the 2012 show? Leave your thoughts in the comments!