Posted on 11/23/10 10:22 PM
A young man falls in love with a seemly unattainable girl and must defeat her 7 evil "Ex's" in a retro-video game style.
I'll have to admit that I wasn't sure what I was expecting from this film before I saw it, I hadnt read the published story that preceded it and still havent. But what I got was very enjoyable. I think it had a lot to do with my experiences growing up with the birth of game consoles. The look and feel of this movie really took me back to spending all those hours sitting way-to-close to the TV playing Contra, Zelda or Mortal Kombat.
Most likely those who have read the material that the movie is based will have more to be critical about, but for me this movie was refreshing. I enjoyed the way they combined the sounds and visuals of my old game favorites, from the "1up" when Scott and his band defeated the "evil" musicians to the "pee" bar that told us he was done using the toilet. This film is an all around good time and refuses to take itself seriously.
I will give "Scott Pilgrim vs The World" 4 out of 5 stars, Its worth the rent!
Posted on 11/23/10 10:21 PM
A unique good humored animated film about a super hero battling his arch nemesis.
I've seen quite a few super-hero movies in my day,and they all seem to have the same old formula. They all include cities terrorized by crime that seem to stem from one evil rival whom is consistently defeated by the "hero" character. Well "Megamind" pokes fun at this over-used story line and then takes another less often used trail that surprised me.
The characters are well developed and likable and the all star cast of voices does a superb job bringing them to life. Will Ferrell does what he does best voicing the lead "Megamind" the "evil" villain who is obviously trying very hard to be evil and is perfectly happy to lose every battle to fit in. The hero "Metroman" (Brad Pitt) is the ideal hero, kissing babies and keeping the streets crime free. Johna Hill also dials in his contibution by playing an over wieght geek, quite a stretch from most of his other roles :)
The film is peppered with jokes and references to super-hero movies. The beginning starts with a spoof of the very familiar origin of superman story where his parents shoot him in a shuttle to Earth. Another great reference was a scene when Megamind introduces his "Black Momba" mechanized suit of armor you hear the familiar "Back in Black" intro to reference the Iron man movie series.
The movie has some light-hearted messages about fitting in and peoples ability to change for the better or worse. This would be a good movie to see with your children on a Sunday afternoon, and a must for the family collection. I give Megamind 4 out of 5
Posted on 11/23/10 10:21 PM
So I watched "The Kids are All Right" staring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore & Mark Ruffalo. I'll have to admit my first thoughts before I watched this were that this was going to be about the trials and tribuations of a lesbian couple dealing with their children's interest in thier biological father. But I found it to be much more than that. This movie pays homage to all families and how they react to elements that aim to undermind them.
The relationship between Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore) was a very familiar one. Nic was the smart and driven one as well as the provider and Jules was the "under appreciated" homemaker. One thing that became apparent quickly in thier relationship was Nics obsession to be in control, it was obvious she was the disciplinarian. Like most control fanatics she has the most difficult time dealing with Paul (Ruffalo) as it seems he has laid claim to the children and Jules.
One of the biggest surprises was Mia Wasikowska"s performance. She did such a terrific job as the eldest child dealing with her feelings about sex and relationships. The emotions that she was able to betray seemed very real and complex, I will keep an eye on her as her skill improves. Btw she also did a wonderful job in "Alice in wonderland (2010)" as Alice, if you havent seen it you should think twice.
Now to me the biggest draw to this film was Julianna Moore, she is so flexible as an actress and once again she does not disappoint. Her flawed character learns some big lessons about child-rearing, marriage and loyalty. I was afraid that this movie might rely on the lesbian alternative lifestyle to drive the story and plot, it does take advantage in designing a unique situation, although it feels natural and flows well with it instead of making a point to exploit it in every scene.
In summary, I would like to congratulate the makers of this movie for producing a film that takes a unique family unit and manages to tell a story that reflects how any family would/should handle an outside threat. I found myself very engaged while watching and not being able to guess how it would end.
I give "The Kids are All Right" a 3.5/5.0
Posted on 9/19/09 02:47 PM
Informant! is about an employee at a large firm, Mark Whitacre, who works with the FBI to take down his place of business for illegal activities. Many unexpected events occur as well as an interesting twist that changes the focus of the movie to Mark Whitacre himself.
I was unsure of how to feel about this movie before I saw it in the theatre, lately I have been disappointed in the way movies are protrayed in the trailers. The last few "comedies" I went to see (Funny People, Taking Woodstock) ended up not falling comfortably into the comedy genre to say the least. I also did not see the first take of this movie or knew much about the real life events on which it is based. So I was ready for anything.
I would have to say that I was solidly entertained by the film. Much of the humor, besides the silly choices and lies by the main character, came from "Scrubs-style" thought narratives. Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon), the main character, through out the movie has random thoughts that end up being funny by "coming out of left field" and have almost no relation to what is going on at that moment.
I thought it was terriffic that way the director made you respect Mark Whitacre as an honorable whistle blower, and then slowly lose that respect as the events unfold and the character becomes more seemly neurotic. In the beginning you suspect that there is something "not right" about Mark, but you give him the "benefit of the doubt" and can relate to him as an honorable character. You would have to be so selfless to be making an income of $350,000 with many benefits and at the same time be an insider for the FBI because your employer is doing something immoral. Later you learn that Mark is a very complex guy and far from honorable.
It was interesting that many well-known stand-up comedians made cameos as the dozens of lawyers, (Patton Oswalt & Paul F. Thompkins)
My notable dislikes were, at times the movie seemed to develop a bit slow and ending for the last hour of the film. The score gave you the feeling of a 1970's secret-spy feel, even though the movies time period of was 1992 - 1995ish, I imagine that this was a planned mechanism and part of the comedy-silliness.
Epic Level: I applaud this movie for being funny and cleaver. Matt Damon did a fine job and I enjoyed the casting, It seemed a bit long but I still give it a solid 3 out of 5.
Posted on 9/13/09 09:00 PM
If you love horror films (80?s slasher movies specifically) you need to see Sorority Row. I must admit I?ve never seen the original so I can?t compare the two but from what I?ve read this seems to be the better of the two which is rare for a remake.
This movie follows all the horror clichés to a "T" but they seem to work pretty well in this case. The nerd, drunk, slut, bitch and good girl horror stereotypes are all on display amongst the Theta Pi sisters and in the film they actually work with all the girls giving believable performances that never feel unnatural. The pacing of the movie is spot on with the setup prank happening in the first 5-10 minutes and then the killing starting shortly after. Fortunately we are given just enough time for some character development to the point that we root for the characters we?re supposed to root for and we root against the others to die terrible deaths. The kill sequences set this movie above a lot of other recent horror movie remakes. The kills are all good bloody fun with quite a bit of creativity thrown in that will make any slasher fan happy. There?s plenty of blood and violence (as the movie definitely earns its R rating) but there?s never any excessive brutality that plagued a lot of the kills in the recently released Halloween 2. Every time a character is offed I couldn?t help but smile and wish more modern horror movies were like this. The body count is reasonable with every kill essentially serving a purpose and not just a bunch of random deaths to pad the body count. Now with any good slasher film there are many red herrings thrown in to try and throw you off to who the killer is and then in the end you?re expected to be shocked by the big reveal. I feel that this was really the only part of the film that misses its mark, as the reveal, at least for me, wasn?t truly shocking even though it was the last person I expected, although their motives were good.
Overall, Sorority Row is a fun, fast paced slasher film, with creative kills, that will make any horror fan feel at home.
Epic Level: Go see this movie so we can get more major studio releases like this. I had a great time watching this movie and give it 4 out of 5.
Pat, Epic Ego Sorority Sister and contributor
Posted on 9/10/09 07:25 AM
Extract is a light-hearted comedy and a good way to spend an afternoon.
Extract is about a socially conservative factory owner who is sexually depressed due to an unresponsive wife. Many choices regarding conspiracy,drug use & sex lead our main character down a path he never thought he would travel.
I was really curious before entering the theatre about how this movie would be. Personally I am a big fan of "Office Space" and the long running animated series "King of the Hill" in which director Mike judge is part of. The "King of the Hill" series is about a socially conservative main character "Hank Hill" where much of the humor is about challenging Hank with things in which he is uptight about or uncomfortable with. This seems to be the overall way that this film works as a comedy.
One of the good things about this movie is how you feel about the main character, Joel. I think everyone can relate to the feeling of a bad day or a bad week when nothing seems to go right and the world seems to have went bananas. The way the Joel deals with it, by going to visit a friend at the bar and having a drink or two is common practice. Joel tries his best to ward off the bad influences and rise above them, but eventually succumbs to peer pressures that forces him to imbibe in some drug use in which some bad choices are made and very bad consequences ensue.
I wish I could make this review longer, but truth be told, I really don't have much more to talk about. This was a funny movie, its humor worked for me. The characters are developed just enough for you to care about them and the situational humor hit the spot. The one criticism that I did have would be that the movie maybe a bit predictable, but I think that point is rather mute considering it still makes you laugh.
Epic Level: I give this film a very good 3.5 out of 5, if you have a bit of time and like comedies its a good way to spend 2 hours.
Epic Egos Contributor
Posted on 9/05/09 02:47 PM
Going into this movie I was very excited to see what Rob Zombie could pull off with the Halloween series now that he was free from the shackles of making a remake. I felt his first two films House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil?s Rejects showed a lot of potential and were in their own right very good movies. Rob?s remake of Halloween, which initially set out to be a new take on the series, was his attempt to flesh out Michael?s formative years to try and explain why Michael Meyers became what he is. He essentially ended up dropping that about halfway through and ended up remaking the original in the last half of the movie (shot for shot in some cases). Now with the remake out of the way Rob was free to take the series in any direction he wanted, and as much as I applaud the fact that he tried to make it his own, it ultimately falls flat on its face.
The movie starts off with a bang with a pretty intense hospital sequence (according to Rob it?s not an homage to Halloween 2 but you be the judge) but the movie quickly snowballs from there into a big mess and unfortunately, this is the only suspense you will experience in the movie. This movie does not really feel like a sequel to his remake. The locations look nothing like the locations in the remake and the whole atmosphere is different, although this time there is actually the feeling that the movie is taking place during Halloween, something that was lacking in the first. All the returning characters have changed drastically in the way they act since the last time we?ve seen them. Now we should expect some change in these characters after going through such a tragic event in the first film but the performances we get from the actors are not believable and so over the top they are almost comedic. Some of this can be attributed to the dialogue which has never been one of Zombie?s strong points in his scripts. It feels like he?s trying so hard to be shocking that he misses the mark. Other areas of the movie, for me, that really missed the mark are the kill scenes. Don?t get me wrong, they look great and are bloody and gory as hell but most of them seem to go on for a few minutes to long. I?m all for brutality in horror but how long can you watch someone keep stomping on someone?s head before it just gets boring. A lot of the kills in the film just seem unnecessary and are only in the movie to pad the body count and the running time, which wouldn?t be so bad if any of them had any creativity or inventiveness, like some of the kills from the original films. One thing I should mention, which seems to be the most polarizing aspect of the film, are the scenes with Sherri Moon Zombie. Now, as anyone who?s seen the remake knows, her character commits suicide, but in the sequel she appears as a sort of a ghostly apparition to Michael and is the impetus for him to go out and kill. These scenes really took me out of the movie as they are filled with a lot of strange imagery that really seems out of place with the rest of the film.
This movie felt very rushed and not well put together. I?ve read that the original cut of this was 4 hours so I?m curious to see what was cut out, as there are a few scenes in the film that don?t go anywhere, and have no relevance to anything in the movie whatsoever. Overall I can?t really say I can recommend this movie at all and that?s coming from a big Halloween and Rob Zombie fan. The movies a mess, the performances are terrible, and the kills really don?t have much going for them. There is no suspense, save for the beginning. Hopefully Rob Zombie can get back on track with some of his original material as I will still continue to look forward to what he puts out.
Epic Level: I give it a 2 out of 5
Patrick, Epic Egos Contributor
Posted on 9/02/09 07:18 PM
"You will get more entertainment from a Woodstock documentary"
The movie parallels the events that lead up to the massive rock festival of the late 1960's that we call "Woodstock." A young conservative man named Elliot, tries to save his parents struggling motel from going bankrupt. The opportunity presented of course is for his small podunk town to host the rock concert of the century. Thinking that the show wont be nearly as big as it was, Elliot who is "White Lakes" chamber of commerce president, easily grants himself the proper permits. The many community elements like the townspeople, hippies and corporate business interests create quite a mix of drama as the event plays out.
Here I am again, the guy that apparently dislikes all the movies he sees. Unfortunatley, I have to deliver to you another negative film review. If you did get a chance to catch the previews of "Taking Woodstock" you may get the impression that this movie, staring comedian Demetri Martin ("Important Things", Comedy Central), is a light-hearted comedy with a Woodstock theme. This movie was not a comedy, you could barely categorize it as a light drama. But lets not get to wrapped up in labels and continue on.
Taking Woodstock failed to meet one of the most fundamental requirements of a comedy, it wasn't funny. At best it was a quirky replica of a Woodstock documentary. I spent the first half of the movie waiting for it to make me laugh and the rest of the time waiting for it to end. There several tangents in the movie that failed to further the plot, but the audience was forced to sit through. They choose to spend quite a bit of time meticulously exploring Elliot's first time with LSD, if it were a comedy many funny things would have ensued, but because it wasn't we sit through about 10-15 mins of him assimilating into the drug culture and having a hard time as some hippies hold him down. The movie ends without tying up some sub-plot lines like adding some closer between Elliot and his mother, Elliot and his love interest as well as how the townspeople felt after the event had passed. These things made it feel like the film ended abruptly.
Not having a long acting career, I thought that Demetri Martin showed us that he can be very flexible. Demetri normally has a quirky "Boy-next-door" humor that lands with his audiences, he did a fine job breaking out of humorous material.
Epic Level: I give this movie a 2 out of 5 and feel it is misrepresented as a comedy, I think you would get similar entertainment or more so from a Woodstock documentary.
Jeremy, Epic Egos Contributor
Posted on 9/02/09 07:14 AM
I enter the Theatre. I look for a place to sit down. There are maybe 5 people in the theatre. I choose my usual middle-of-the-theatre seat. Right in front of some twenty something couple. Probably cursing me because I chose to sit right in front of them when literally there is no one else here. I smile politely as I sit down. Everything has a feeling of déjà vu. Have I been here before watching the same movie? I look down at my hand holding 3-D Glasses. This is definitely different! This could be great even! But then I have a vision or a premonition. I see various objects thrown at me in 3-D but they make no sense. A rock? A sharp pole? Another sharp pole? I also see a cast of twenty something's getting murdered by "freak" accidents. Have I seen all this before? I snap out of my vision or dream and put on my 3-D glasses. The giant screen just told me that it was ok?
I have always feared NASCAR races. The fast cars. The continuous left turns. The yuppies in the crowd. The racist redneck up front. The people at the race play like a stereotyped checklist. Wait. The yuppies (there are 4 of them) keep talking. One of the two guys is less aggravating. He must be the hero. His girlfriend is too nice. He will probably have to save her towards the end. Oil pour on the raceway. A car slips on the oil?wait what? No one notices?Our yuppie main character seems jittery. He is looking at a broken bench. A creaked cement support. His too nice girlfriend tell him not to worry. Oh my god some mechanic left a tool in the back of some car. Looks like it might fall! It did and it caused a giant crash! Cars are flying towards the stand and crushing people. A tire is thrown my way! People getting impaled!..by a sharp pole? Dang it! I have seen this before. Someone getting crushed by an engine? Wait?where is the rest of the car? After everyone dies a horrible death. The main yuppie wakes up and we are taking back to the beginning of this scene?sigh this is exactly like the previous installments. I wait patiently for the set up. The hero for no explanation whatsoever has visions. Those visions now it seems are excuse to throw 3-d objects at me for no reason.
See I liked the Final destination movies. I can even accept the total lack of character development. I don't want to care too much about them because you know the fun is seeing how they get killed. The second installment was my favorite because of the way all the death were constructed. They were inventive and much more fun to watch. But here it doesn't seem like they are trying at all. It seems like as long as they show something in 3-D its enough. The last 3-D horror movie "my bloody valentine" at least tried a lot harder by going way over the top with its gory kills(flying lower mandible?). This movie fails because of its lack of imagination not its execution.
They did manage to have one decent actual character. The security guard played Mykelti Williamson manages to bring one of the most interesting characters in this franchise so far but that is not saying much. All the characters eventually die in a certain order. At one point during all those deaths there is a 3-d effect. That is pretty much the movie. In 82 minutes. So after the disappointing finale. I take off my glasses. I get up. I hear a few people clapping. They seemed to enjoy the movie. Good for them. I didn't hate it. I just left the theatre with a feeling of déjà vu. Like this has been done before. But just better. And more fun. And it didn't have to be in 3-D.
Epic Level: 1 out of 5 Definitely the worst installment in the franchise. Minus a star for poor use of 3-D.
Etienne, Epic Ego Flying Shrapnel
Posted on 8/29/09 08:04 AM
Ponyo is a beautiful animated tale although it does not surpass Studio Ghibili best works.
"Ponyo" is about a 5 year old boy named Sosuke who befriends a goldfish princess(?) and names her Ponyo. As he befriends her Sosuke and Ponyo are left alone as a tsunami hits the Oceanside village they embark on a journey to find Sosuke's mother.
I wish I could go into more detail about the plot but honestly this movie doesn't follow too many conventions like plots. But that is also part of it charm. The director Hayao Miyazaki says he wrote this story like he was a 5 year old and I believe it. The film is wildly imaginative and beautiful and hardly makes any sense but when I was 5 years nothing made much sense to me either. The movie is filled with great character like Sosuke mother who acts just like a real mom here and not a caricature of mothers like we see in so many movies. The most uninteresting character is unfortunately Ponyo herself. She is full of life and brash but that is the most character development that we get. Sosuke befriends Ponyo and the character shows a lot of innocence and maturity as their journey continues. He also always shows a lot of kindness to everyone around him. This being a Japanese animated film there are a lot of cultural blind spots for me but I still overall enjoyed it very much.
I have to add that this movie is one of the most beautiful animated movies I have seen. This movie was entirely hand drawn with no CGI used and every frame looks beautiful. The art style is simple but very elegant. This literally is an animated tale from a child. When we were kids we all have those animated movies we remember seeing that we loved but don't make much sense once we grow up. I can only hope that (if had them!) my children would be more interested in seeing this than GI. Joe or "G-Force". This movie is definitely not for everyone but will reward those who go see it with an open mind.
Epic Level: I give this movie 3.5 out of 5 stars but feel free to add a few extra stars if you are a child at heart!
Etienne, Epic Ego contributor and Lord of the Sea.