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I, Frankenstein is going to leave a scar

31 Jan

i-frankenstein

It’s alive! Well, it is happy to be breathing at this point because the newest interpretation of Mary Shelley’s classic character has many noticeable imperfections that are going to leave a scar. At times, the film is entertaining, but then it falls into a familiar sounding story line, “There has been a war…” and basically the Frankenstein monster is going to have to choose a side because his soulless body has the potential to change the face of the conflict. The film is on life support because the acting, directing and story telling falls short of the magic Kevin Grevioux’s created in the Underworld franchise. Aaron Eckhart’s stick wielding becomes repetitive and Yvonne Strahovski’s character is asked to make unrealistic leaps in a short amount of time in order to push the story forward. It just doesn’t work. However, this is NOT the worst Frankenstein film I have seen and maybe Grevioux bring it back to life in a sequel.

WORD COUNT 160:
Chuck’s Grade: C-

Adam’s Grade: N/A

THOR: THE DARK WORLD hammers out an unsatisfactory ending

18 Jan

Thor-The-Dark-World

The sequel, Thor: The Dark World finds the title character tackling the all-to-common villain that wants to destroy the entire universe for some illogical reason that is never fully explained and never full thought out. However, it does not matter because Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane (Natalie Portman) are re-united for a meet the parents episode while Loki (Tom Hiddleson) broods in prison for his past offenses. Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) is a formidable arch-rival for both Thor and Odin who will ultimately need Loki’s help to confront Malekith. The film is entertaining and I prefer it over the original because the characters are able to delve deeper into their relationships with one another. However, like most Marvel products the ending does not do the rest of the film justice because it hammers out an unsatisfactory ending that cannot control the balance between action and comedy.

WORD COUNT: 147
Chuck’s Grade: B-
Adam’s Grade: N/A

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG does not live up to its title

13 Jan

the-desolation-of-smaug

Many people exclaim the second installment is much better than the first film, but I do not think that justifies a favorable review for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I do not know whose greed is worse, the dwarves trying to steal the Arkenstone, Smaug and his liar of stolen goods, or Hollywood’s penchant for drawing out this modest size story into an unnecessary trilogy length of films. I am angry at Peter Jackson  and this franchise in general. The first film was boring and the second film accomplished absolutely nothing accept ticket sales for Peter Jackson and the addition of characters that do not belong and a storyline that do not exist. I’m serious. I am angry with this irresponsible greed.  However, at this point I feel obligated to see the third film because the first two films have not given me a satisfactory movie to enjoy. The Desolation of Smaug does not live up to its title.

WORD COUNT: 159

Chuck’s Grade: D

Adam’s Grade: B

HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS

9 Jan

HANSEL-AND-GRETEL-WITCH-HUNTERS

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was a disappointing interpretation of the Grimm fairytale to say the least. The mixture of humor and horror could not match the coolness factor of Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) as witch hunter siblings hellbent on revenge. There were many great ideas in director/writer Tommy Wirkola’s script, but he could not maintain a consistent voice and look throughout the picture that could convince audiences to believe in his story. I could accept the exploding witches (to an extent) and kind-hearted trolls that seemed to be the only creature that could actually kill humans for some reason, but I could not swallow the anachronistic scenes of witches duking it out with Jeremy Renner, as well as the Van Helsing-like modern weapons used in the film. For me, the film was a complete letdown, but I am sure there will be  a sequel with a lesser known cast in the future.

WORD COUNT: 155
Chuck’s Grade: D-
Adam’s Grade: N/A

47 RONIN are turning over in their graves

30 Dec

47-ronin-film

The film’s director, Carl Erik Rinsch is probably kneeling before a room of executives at Universal and offering to perform seppuku for the dismal 47 Ronin starring Keanu Reeves. Everyone knew the film was in trouble long before its eventual Christmas release date, but I (Chuck) am a martial art film junkie and wanted to give the film a fair viewing. Unfortunately, the film lived up to its bad press by putting together a poorly assembled re-interpretation of the legendary story about Japan’s most famous samurai. There was no cohesion from scene to scene because the production is unable to balance the fantasy with the real story. Rinsch tries to honor both ideas, but it simply does not work. The special effects are distracting and predictable. Also, Universal Studios should be ashamed of themselves for thinking a  story about a group a men known for gaining honor through mass suicide would be a successful holiday blockbuster.

WORD COUNT: 154

Chuck’s Grade: D

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Pacific Rim is a monstrous mess

28 Jul

PACIFIC-RIM

Acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is finally back behind the camera in the enormously disappointing Pacific Rim. Giant monsters versus Giant humanoid robots. There really isn’t that more to tell as far as the story is concerned. It lacks emotion, humor and character development. I love Idris Elba (Stacker), but he is out of his element, along with Charlie Hunnam (Raleigh) and Rinko Kikuchi (Mako).  They are forced into relationships that don’t work and a rivalry that comes out of nowhere. The only thing that saves this film from becoming one of the summer’s worst is the astounding visual effects and the cinematography. I wanted to like Pacific Rim, but it is a monstrous mess.

WORD COUNT: 115

Adam’s Grade: C

Chuck’s Grade: N/A

The Sorcerer and the White Snake

14 Jul

The Sorcerer and the White Snake

The Sorcerer and the White Snake is a Chinese fantasy film based on a story that has been passed down for generations. Although, some of the cultural references will be lost on domestic audiences, the poor acting from the supporting characters cannot be ignored.The female actresses (Huang Shengyi and Charlene Choi) are gorgeous, but their love stories are beyond juvenile and much too drawn out.  Jet Li’s character is interesting as a demon “buster” monk, but the film is not about him. His kung fu powers serves as the story’s deus ex machina.  I am sure young people who enjoy shape-shifting and demons will find this very polished film entertaining, but for me, I was bored out of my mind.

WORD COUNT: 120

Chuck’s Grade: D

Adam’s Grade: N/A

OZ the Great and Powerful is missing more than ruby slippers

11 Mar

OZ-the-great-and-powerful

OZ the Great and Powerful is missing more than the iconic ruby slippers from the MGM’s 1939 film. Disney ends up producing this movie with one arm tied behind its back because Warner Brothers would not release the rights to Dorthy shoes and most of the noteworthy character likenesses, as well as not being able to cast their original choices. Sam Raimi does his best with a script that keeps repeating itself and a lead actor (James Franco) that won’t stop smiling. The wicked witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz) are the most interesting part of OZ, but they will fall trap to a one-note performance in the end when the film attempts to connect the story to the original. I’m sure children will like the film and it will lead to their parents introducing them to the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, which a good thing because then they will realize the difference between a movie and a masterpiece.

WORD COUNT: 160

Chuck’s Grade: C

Adam’s Grade: C

Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut fills in the holes

22 Feb

donnie-darko

I am torn between the theatrical release and the director’s cut of Donnie Darko. The theatrical version left me perplexed and wondering what just happened.  Richard Kelly’s updated version fills in many of the holes that made the original such an off the wall cool movie. Both versions are good, but I like the director’s cut a little better because it allows me to fully appreciate the intricacies of the plot and the mysterious performance by Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko). The main addition to the script is the explanation of the book, The Philosophy of Time Travel and how the Primary Universe and Tangent Universe are connected by vortexes made of water. Trust me, it does make much more sense and audiences still have to interpret the strange events for themselves, but the theory provides a more solid footing. The film is a contemporary cult classic that has become a transcendent piece of filmmaking and staple for most DVD collections.

WORD COUNT: 160

Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: B

The Red Balloon

30 Jan

The-red-Balloon

Recently, I read an article that provided a list of films a young person should watch by the time they are 14-years old.  Le Ballon Rouge meaning The Red Balloon was one of them. I missed the article’s prescribed deadline, but I did finally get around to watching the short film. On his way to school, Pascal, finds a red balloon and takes it with him. Soon afterward, the balloon begins to have a mind of its own, and follows Pascal around Paris. The film brought me back to being a kid again. At least for the film’s 35 minute duration. The Red Balloon reminds audiences the adventures a child experiences and the meaning of friendship. The dialogue is sparse, but the simple device of a balloon and special effect help tell a magical story of imagination.  In 1956, it won the Palme d’Or for short film and an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

WORD COUNT: 153

Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: A