The first animated feature from Marvel was a close call with me, but I panned it mainly because the feature gutted the edginess of Mark Millar's Ultimates comic. This time out, I was just bored. Bad voice acting, 1980's level Saturday morning cartoon level animation, and a bad adaptation of the Black Panther and Wakanda (something that the Ultimate comics, thank God, never tried). The whole feature was a yawn, and if Marvel can't raise their game to a higher level than this, they've lost me for future efforts....and if you can't get ME to watch a superhero cartoon, you are completely screwed. One nice feature on the disc was a 30 minute look at the Ultimates comic with writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch that is much more interesting than anything else in the package. [center][url="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ultimate_avengers_2_rise_of_the_panther/dvd.php?select=1"][img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/movie/coverv/61/306161.jpg[/img][/url][/center]
[center][img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/movie/gallery/1183991/photo_08.jpg[/img] [size=6][font=Book Antiqua]10,000 B.C. [/font][/size][left][size=6][font=Book Antiqua][size=4][font=Garamond]It's easy to review a brilliant movie. It's fun to review a movie that was so bad it was funny. It's really, really hard to put into words what an awful experience it is to have to sit through 10,000 BC. I'll fully admit that I theatre hopped into this movie, mainly because I don't want anyone to think I paid money to see it and lose respect for me. After having done so, I think the management knew I was theatre hopping and chose to show their contempt for me by letting me see what is easily one of the worst movies ever made. Well why did I even go? Mammoths. I knew it was supposed to be bad, but it had mammoths. Mammoths are inherently cool. They're wolly elephants with 'tude. They've been entirely underrepresented in cinema history. The mammoths look good. They clearly spent all the money on the mammoths. The people look pretty awful. Green screen technology isn't new, right? We're not still playing around with this are we? Because fricking Roland Emmerich couldn't get people standing in front of tundra to NOT look like they were cut and pasted there with photoshop. The movie was visually ludicrous, be it the poor FX or the fact that, apparently, in 10,000 BC the earth was so climatalogically segmented that Jungleland and Mountainland and Desertland were all kept in rigid areas. This lead to my favorite shot of the movie, which was one of our rasta cavemen two feet into the Jungleland (with the entire background still showing snow slavered mountains) saying, "It's hot here." The plot is really kind of not worth my time to summarize. Okay, how about this: did you see Apocalypto? Subtract the blood. Everyone speaks a different accented form of English. Add mammoths. Take away any intelligence. And, in fact, the big bads end up being, oh oh SPOILER ALERT, a bunch of wandering Mayans who cater to a giant white dude (these are, I suspect, the cast and director of Apocalypto now having a very limited niche in Hollywood). The movie, honestly, was so painfully bad it sucked the life out of me. I was fine sitting down and when I got up, a little bit of my soul was gone. That's how bad this movie is. If I'm going to be positive, there is no way this won't be my worst film of 2008. I've gotten that out of the way in March. Always a silver lining. [/font][/size][/font][/size][/left] [/center]
[/font][/size][left][size=6][font=Book Antiqua][size=4][font=Garamond]I did not want to watch this movie. I was fully prepared to dislike this movie, despite the fact I like Amy Adams. My preparation for hate has to do with a complex story involving the Walt Disney Company and how I think they are, in fact, Satan. The reason I didn't see this in the theatre, despite the pleading of my wife, was that I wasn't giving Disney another penny of my money until they apologize for a number of sins committed against us, former Disney addicts.
I may have gone tangental there for a second, but I feel we established that I was not anticipating this movie. Additionally, I thought the premise was dumb and there was no way they were going to pull it off without turning it into a hamhanded spoof of their past animated glories. Not only was I wrong, not only did I love this movie, but I would say it's the best original Disney fairy tale in the last 15 years. The premise is pretty simple. Sterotypical fairy tale land with the maiden waiting to marry the prince is disturbed by the evil queen who banishes the maiden to the real world. The prince and others follow after her and their fairy tale world collides with New York. Here Amy Adams just shines and throws out a "fish out of water" performance comprable to Tom Hanks in Big. No, the material isn't as good as Big's, but then Tom Hanks doesn't have a Broadway-quality voice, so we'll call it even. What starts as a one-note performance becomes increasingly complex as she begins to be affected by the nuances of reality and she, in turn, begins to positively affect the jaded New Yorkers around her. There's one scene in particular where she realizes she's angry and she's never been angry before and she's amazed and astounded she's feeling angry and a bit pleased by it, but is still angry that Amy Adams accomplishes pretty much all with her eyes and it's stunning. Not only did she deserve an Oscar nomination, but were it not for Ellen Page, I probably would say she earned the statue. The movie pokes fun at the conventions of Disney musicals without denigrating them. There's one scene where Amy Adams has begun to sing and all of Central Park gradually joins in and a befuddled Patrick Dempsey (who is great along with James Marsden in supporting roles) mutters, "How does everyone know this song? I've never even heard this song?" The score and songs, by the way, were stellar and it was nice to see Alan Menken return to early 90's form. I felt the Disney magic. Despite my ongoing feud with them in real-life, this movie made me feel the way I did when I was a kid watching their fairy tales. It made me smile, it impressed me, and several days after watching it, it's making me smile still. That's a magic trick in and of itself. [/font][/size][/font][/size]
[center][img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/movie/coverv/35/1685735.jpg[/img] [size=6][font=Book Antiqua]No Country for Old Men [/font][/size][left][size=4][font=Garamond]Arrrrgh. I can't think of a movie that has ever jerked me up and down the ratings scale like this one did. I went into it not expecting much. I don't like Cormac McCarthy. I don't like the Coen Brothers. The plot didn't sound that interesting. I really was only watching it because it won Best Picture. 75% though this movie, I was loving it. LOVING IT. I'm talking a solid 9. I was totally surprised and riveted by Josh Brolin of all people being chased by Javier Bardem and I was already preparing an indignant rant about Tommy Lee Jones being ignored for his role. Then the entire impetus for the movie ended. Off-screen. And the movie rambled on, making increasingly less sense, resolving nothing, and it all leads up to the biggest WTF ending of all-time. I'm depressed because I really could have loved this movie. It just crumbled to dust and I'm not really sure that even the six I'm giving it is justified since I'm left with a negative impression of the film overall. The performances are outstanding and I think the movie is worth watching just for those alone. But, again, the "best picture" of the year wouldn't even crack my top 25. [/font][/size][/left] [/center]