Superior film reviews, your sort of an inspiration for me of how I want to write in the next few years! I also want to address that it pleases me that you review the infamous, underrated indie films since all the hype is on the major, big-budget blockbusters! Keep it up and I will be reading your film reviews!
I have a passion when it comes to movies, both the good and the bad. I generally, as you can see by my reviews, am a big fan of action movies. I don't have a wide knowledge of movies in certain areas and I watch movies in all format. No matter how many views I have on my reviews, I always to provide my honest opinion in reviews and write blogs whenever I can. I also attempt to review every movie in a franchise, no matter how painful they can be, like the dreadful Gingerdead Man trilogy and the boring Tiger Cage trilogy. I like to be unexpected when it comes to reviewing movies as I tend to find and watch some bizarre movie. I just don't want to write good reviews on good movies, I want to write bad reviews on bad movies to have more variety in my reviews as I watch what many users don't attempt to watch.
Product placement in films is actually okay in my book; Minority Report, Cast Away, E.T., Skyfall, Casino Royale, Back To Future, Fritz Lang's M, and several other films have product placement that actually are the last thing anyone remembers from those films. Then there's the "Mac and Me" of product placement that blatantly shove it down the viewer throat or whenever promoting the product is shoved down the viewer throat instead of attempting to conceal it. So can it be called product placement if the whole film takes place in a supermarket with famous product icon...probably not since I doubt the sponsors of the film would want their product to be associated with a film aimed at children that has Nazi undertone.
Foodfight! is about Dex, a dogtective, the law of the land helping the world's most recognized brands take on the forces of evil and the devilish Brand X. This film script is all sorts level of wrong, yet it's such a fascinating train wreck it's hard to look away from. Picture if you will a mixture between "Toy Story", Mr. Clean, Micheal Bay, McGruff the Crimedog, and Nazism than you got Foodfight!. One of the biggest issues about the film is making sense of its world. For example, in the opening of the film we see a store transform into....lets just call it Producity into a living and functioning city. Immediately the opening raises many questions about how the supermarket world function all of which the film is more than gladly to ignore. Everything else in the film is just broken like the introduction to our protagonist; Dex (a knockoff of McGruff the Crimedog wearing Indiana Jones costume) is on top of a hot air balloon fighting hairless Hamsters and the Rat burglar to save kittens in a basket. What an introduction it is with bad puns, wretched dialogue, and ending the epic confrontation with the famous last words "I just wanted to be loved". Beyond that point every major plot point introduced becomes an unintentional joke. One that plot point that carries the film is Sunny Goodness (Dex's girlfriend) going missing. Right after Dex friend says "It's not like it's the last time you'll get to propose to her" it goes to a title card that says "Six Months Later".
Spiraling into a series of repeated problems that consist of more bad puns, constant character introduction, horrid dialogue, and sexual innuendos. Oh yes the innuendos are very sexualize with no effort to tone it down. Somehow a fetish for food product icon worked it way into the film putting the villainess in a schoolgirl outfit attempting to seduce a dog. Sure in context it's a two food icon dancing while flirting, but also comes across as bestiality as a human woman trying to seduce a dog. Humor contain some slapsticks, but in general most of the jokes and references are for adult. The dialogue is not clever enough to sneak in crude jokes. For example, "What the fudge" and "Oh Mamacita! Yo, sweetcakes, nice packaging! How about some chocolate frosting? I'd like to butter your muffin!". Dialogue like this does make the viewer question if the content for children as these elements have straightforward intentions. The dedication to remain friendly provide plenty of awkward dialogue that entertains all for the wrong reasons. Although when it comes to having Nazism is where lines are drawn. Not only is the idea of Nazis undertone in a kids film a potential red flag, but also that it might have a hidden agenda. By that I mean perhaps it's trying to present it's own version of Hitler; the villainess wants to dominate the supermarket, slowly gains political power, starts a war, has a grudge against a specific group, and the only person stopping her is Gex who's a Jew. Okay I'm convince writer/director/producer Lawrence Kasanoff smoked to much pot with Pillsbury Doughboy while watching a documentary on Hitler when he created this film.
For as much criticism the film deservedly gains it is literally a bad movie lover dream to poke fun off. I can comically break this film down without leaving anything out, but doing so would take away from the anti-genius of the story. Animation is very crude and zany. Expressions are always exaggerated with jerky motion. Nothing in movement has any sort of rhythm to it; speed of characters action is always off, objects are weightless, not a single subtle movement in the animation. Textures are ugly especially up close when human faces look deformed more fitting for a horror movie. Aside from having muddle textures it also has a funny color scheme. In the film there's a weasel that literally looks like a piece of shhhhhhhh....should refrain from completing that word. Other than looking cheap the director resorts to reusing stock scenes. Near the end of the film there's a war between food Nazi and food products that is done Michael Bay style. The battle contains explosive pancakes, explosive cakes, explosive ketchup, just about whatever the food product use explodes. This war scene goes on for around half hour being both hysterical and repetitive. Voice acting cast is interesting having the talents of Charlie Sheen, Hilary Duff, Eva Longoria, Wayne Brady, and Christopher Lloyd. Charlie Sheen being the star his voice work is one note. Sheen talks casually as if the dialogue in the film are things he says everyday. Hilary Duff is airheaded, Wayne Brady shouts a lot, Eva Longoria attempts to sound sexy, and Christopher Lloyd is over the top. Given the character that Christopher Lloyd voice his over the top performance makes his appearance in the film a highlight.
Foodfight! is an oddity of film history that should be seen. It's all sorts of wrong, yet entertaining at the same time. A stroke of brilliance and stupidity come together for a script that is nonsensical and an assault on the brain. Unintentionally offensive and unintentionally entertaining Foodfight! highlights all the best things about watching bad movies. If you're the kind of person who enjoy seeing bad movies for entertainment value or wants a see a piece of lost animation history Foodfight! is that film kind of film.
Odd Production History:
In late 2002 around Christmas computer drives containing all the film's files of Foodfight! (rumored around 60% of the film was completed) were reportedly stolen in what writer/director/producer Lawrence Kasanoff called an act of "industrial espionage." With no backup available the film was restarted with a proposed 2005 release date...which was missed. Then in 2007 a distribution deal was struck, but it, too, evaporated. When StoryArk's investors, frustrated by the missed release dates and the fact that Threshold's production company had defaulted on a secured promissory note, invoked a clause ultimately giving the insurance company, Fireman's Fund, the right to step in and complete the film as quickly and cheaply as possible. A trailer of the film before the theft is online and having seen the film I can tell you the pre theft trailer version has better animation, textures, and more food mascots. It remains a mystery if the original copies of the film will ever be found or be lost like Japan's King Kong. Having seen the film from what I saw in the trailers it didn't appear any different plot wise, but one thing I can say for certain is this version of Foodfight! is entertaining if for the wrong reasons. While nowhere the "next Pixar" as originally envisioned this film has for better or worse earned a spot in obscure film history for all the wrong reasons.
My feelings towards the news outlet is represented by the film "Natural Born Killers" in which it depicts news media commercializing violence. Sure not all news media outlet are out solely seeking profit, but it has become less trustworthy with facts distortion, false story testimony, hypocritical political stance that change on a whim, and hundreds of other issues. "The Terror Live" yes does to a degree support my views on the news media outlet; however, as a film it achieves all the high mark needed for a perfect rating. Excellent writing for the story it's telling, high production values regardless of budget, a magnificent cast, and a key understanding of what genre fans want while also making it accessible for the average viewer.
The Terror Live follows Young-Hwa Yoon, once a top national news anchor attempting to get his title back through an exclusive live broadcast with a terrorist. One thing to note about "The Terror Live" is the amount of creativity put into it taking entirely place in just one broadcast room. Starting things simple and low key for the introduction of protagonist Yoon as an unhappy radio host. It builds beyond that point doing the basics of introducing the premise, the characters, and the conflict setting them immediately in placed. Developing in real time we're able to witness everything fleshed out right before our eyes. Being an immersive experience that's often not capture by written words. For this reason we bare witness the now common practice report it first get it right later mentality of web journalism with the disillusionment and frustration that come from it. It's not far fetched concept nowadays nor is the way how the film tackle this too refrain from reality. Motivations for a live terrorist broadcast make senses from the characters angle going beyond the underline that in the end it's about money. Never does it tell you swallow it owns views rather ask how reliable news reporting is up to the viewer to determine for themselves. For the first two act there's very little to complain about (some of the character development is conventional, but it's better than nothing). Slowly building up to its climax for the two act are flawlessly written keeping the story essentials engaging while building upon what already placed. What will ultimately determine how your reaction on the film as a whole will be with the third act. Revealing the terrorist and his rather disappointing reason behind his actions, though even in context his action could be perceived as overblown. Yet these complaints would automatically be labeled as flaws sneakily tie into how preconceived the media in the film. How much of we what see and hear is reliable from the sources we get this information from and how much do we accept of it as the truth and a work of fiction.
Writer/director Kim Byeong-woo had a taunting task of not only writing a film in just one setting, but also filming it. What instantly catches the eye is the camera being constantly in motion and creating momentum. The camera serves as a tool showing details among the cast anxiety of the situations to creating a feeling of entrapment with little to no influence to change its outcome. Alongside with editing effectively emoting the anxiety felt by its protagonist. Kim Byeong-woo makes great use of all his available resources and intelligently knows how to use them properly. For example, the bridge that has partly collapsed can almost at all times only be seen from a distance and thus the CGI effects look always looks great. Star Ha Jeong-woo does good work in revealing Yoon's motivations through his performance instead of solely through dialogue, and his arc is clearer because of it. Gradually upping the dosages of anxiety and doubt he injected Yoon's smug veneer, the actor has managed to portray a man quickly losing his moorings, but having to at least pretend he's putting up a good fight. Staying on him almost exclusively straying only to offer glimpses through windows or to TV screens, and he carries the responsibility with energy and believability.
The Terror Live fits the term masterful filmmaking in all category. It's an intelligent thriller with a fresh and new concept not widely seen that keeps your attention right to the very end. Doing more so entertaining its audience its asks the bold question of who are the real terrorist in a depiction that purely gray where no simple answer in sight.
Grand Piano follows Tom Selznick, a master pianist who retired from playing five years prior due to a meltdown on stage, performing for this first time in five years discovers a note written on his sheet music that claims if he plays a wrong note he will die. Preposterous, over the top, and flimsy are best fitted to describe "Grand Piano" plot. Never being one for common sense it's a thriller that does not rack up suspense because of how far fetched the basics premise is. Immediately once the antagonist plans gets started many questions begin popping up it expects the viewer to ignore. Every clue given to solve its mystery is done unsubtly revealing too much with little to work out for the viewer. With the exception of Tom Selznick and the film antagonist character development is slim. Secondary characters bare little weight in how the plot actually plays out. Some characters are obligatorily created to become victims, though the victims death don't heighten the tension seeing how little the characters were involved in the first place. It plot flaws are visible; however, it's a film that knows how to execute. While the plot is not exactly high minded it is cleverly structure. The cat and mouse game has enough intrigued to sustain its run time. Conversations between Tom and the films antagonist carry strong dialogue for large portion of the film. Tom (our protagonist) reacts reasonably (minus the climax) in his situations albeit it might result in a negative impact. No matter how slim plausibly may be for the film it never overstays its welcome. It has enough set pieces and ideas to support itself to the end even if it asks too much suspension of disbelief. Enjoyment of the story is also equal to how much you can buy the antagonist motivations for his plan.
Director Eugenio Mira's visual work is surely inspired and successful. Once Elijah Wood gets to the concert hall, everything has a grand, classy, and polished look to it. However, Mira's work doesn't truly shine until Elijah begins playing the piano. There are a lot of sweeping shots and wonderfully-captured scenes with Wood's fingers running across the keys that perfectly represent the character's tension. There's a lot of great selection of classical music throughout the running time, which has wonderful clarity as its fluid editing. Director of photography Unax Mendia uses plenty of long, highly choreographed and well blocked single take shots that remind the viewer the film is taking place in real time. The shots are impressive, often involving dozens of actors and extras moving in front of or around the camera as it cranes in or out on its focal point. With everything that's going on around the set, the production is almost like live theater, only with the viewer stuck right in the middle. Elijah Wood handily conveys a nervous, anxious, and jaded musician with limitless talents and plenty of insecurities. Wood makes his character captivating through his easy and relatable presence. No matter how far fetch the plot is Elijah Wood always feels grounded. John Cusack is solid here too, even if his character is a bit on the one-dimensional side of things, as we spend most of the movie only hearing his calculating voice rather than seeing him. One important thing note even though the film runtime says ninety minutes; twelve of those minutes are slow running closing credits with a hit or miss ending.
Grand Piano is preposterous, but a well executed film. The initial premise won't rack up suspense or thrills. It does offer good writing, a great selection of classical music, and solid performances that can keep you engage for its short run time. Production values equal that of a classical concert and on the technical sides takes surprisingly many liberties despite how restraint the material is. A high end thriller Grand Piano is not, but a solid film that makes up for its weakness it is.
If it ain't broke don't fix it is the mindset I applied to Disney Studio filmmaking. For decades the studio essentially been telling similar stories with similar messages in their animated films. Containing a formula for the most part if done correctly can create an easily accessible film without the sacrifice of what makes a quality film. Frozen is not one of those films suffering from an identity crisis between breaking the norm or following it leaving an entire film that's tacked on.
Frozen follows Anna journey to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter. "Frozen" simply amounts to being an easily avoidable overblown temper tantrum. Conflict in the story is very forced. Occurring within minutes of the film starting we get adult characters doing something illogical even by Disney standards. Simply put if it wasn't for the trolls (oh my god!) none of the events in the film would have happened. These trolls never explain why Anna memories need to be change, poorly explain crucial life saving information, suffer from memory lost, and the advice these trolls give while good is misinterpreted by the parents. So these trolls advice basically says to embrace Esla power something which the parents can't comprehend thus you got "Frozen" in a nutshell. This one scene, one single scene breaks the whole narrative of the film within minutes of starting making it unable to recover from it. Yes that's alot of vague analyzation into a single scene, but the other essentials of the film are just as tacked on.
Suffering from identity crisis "Frozen" is confused in what to be. One half panders to expectations of the Disney formula (always got to have dead parents and a villain) and another that wants to breakaway from the formula (love at first sight is done twice). With this uneven course set the film never aspires to much in the long run taking its toll on the way the story is told. Scenes at times are conflicted between what to should be spoken dialogue and what should be a musical number. In the few scenes it's confident we get solid working scenes, but they're a rarity within the film. Characters simply go through the motions of events never once taking time to act like real people. There's no sense of progression as every piece of character developments is expository for the antagonist or a superficial songs that doesn't build upon what's already established for the central characters. The quality of the songs depends on the listener. Sure I personally didn't like the music because the songs didn't build upon what was established by spoken dialogue. However, the songs themselve have personality more so than the character even in if in context they don't add much to the story. So in the end tacked on conflict, cardboard characters that go through the motion of events, and superficial song amounts to an superficial film.
Character animation is smooth and fluid, though the visuals leave something to be desire. In the film Elsa character has the power to summon ice, snow, basically anything cold her power can harness at will. Whenever Elsa uses her powers the visuals become interesting because of the large amount of particles effects on screen. Sadly the whole environment despite being covered in snow is only a novelty to look nice with little being done with its setting. Losing it's magic the more we see of the underwhelming setting. Music composition is solid even if the weak lyrics aren't equal in power to its instrumental. The voice acting is superb with a stellar Broadway cast who breath pure heart and soul into this masterpiece. Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel are flawless. The wonderful innocence, naivety of Anna was portrayed so well by Kristen Bell. When she spoke there was a sweet charm about her and her singing felt more angelic, light. This was a great contrast with the powerful, belting vocals of Idina Menzel as Elsa. Her role as the conflicted queen was perfect for her (also her background with roles like this in "Wicked" made her the perfect choice). She brought a certain maturity to conflict Anna's innocence. Supporting cast is good, though for certain it's both Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel film.
Frozen is superficial as a film and a musical. All the elements that form the plot are tacked on artificially assembling a plot with little to no heart. The whole package gives viewer the cold shoulder unable to determine what it wants to be in the end resulting in production values that either do nothing for the film or add little to the overall experience.
Saving Mr. Banks is about author P.L. Travers reflection on her childhood after reluctantly meeting with Walt Disney, who seeks to adapt her Mary Poppins books for the big screen. Alternating between the 1960s production of Mary Poppins and P. L. Travers childhood in the early 1900s the story is told in non chronological order. The film would have still worked the same if told in order, but the shift between the different era keep things moving without contemplating its own purpose. Themes click a lot faster and character specific moments serve more than essential piece of development as they better correlate the connection Traverse has with her work. By its own structure it's a design that juggles the correlation between Travers personal life and the work of fiction she holds so dear to her, silver lining the acceptance of change and letting go of the past, and a what it means to be a storyteller. All these ideas are balanced making the journey with earnest emotions. However its characters are a different story. This being a film about P. L. Traverse she is the most define and only three dimensional character. Everyone she interacts gets across a theme which in this story is a positive. Much like the flashback this provides depth in the main theme and sheds a light on how Traverse sees her work and understand the power it has on other.
One of theme that never comes full circle is addiction. While the core relationship of fatherly love works. What doesn't work is the attempted correlation of addiction between Travers and her father. P. L. Traverse is at a point in her life where she stopped her addiction to tell stories and the core of Travers flashbacks is her father addiction to alcohol. The film wants to tell us that Travers has a deep connection towards her father, but unlike Travers where her inspiration for writing is clear of her father root is misguidedly vice versa. With no exploration in what triggered Traverse drinking problem it also negates what made Traverse stop writing in the first place. Things are missing from these two backstory with one having no beginning and the other having no ending. Still, it's for it few flaws the story can connect to the viewer no matter how much of it is accepted as truth or fiction.
In a movie about artists that are addicted to their craft, you need actors that work with the same type of fervor. Emma Thompson despite not getting top billing gets the most screen time, gets the toughest job, and delivers the film best performance. She becomes very dislikable and yet sympathetic at the same time. Tom Hanks gives Walt Disney a humanized performance that separates the flawed man from the myth the Disney Company. The rest of the cast does not disappoint, and we even see Colin Farrell potentially impresses as the loving yet extremely defective father figure. Paul Giamatti chief amongst the supporting actors as Travers' driver, Ralph, a doleful puppy in human form that responds to every brush-off and verbal slap with another smile and encouraging word. There's no lazy leaning towards slapstick or cheap shots, rather director John Lee Hancock steers their scenes gently allowing both the frostiness and the occasional sprinkles of sunlight to sparkle with sincerity. Hancock visually is creative in framing a true story to be grander than it probably was. One particular noticeable sequence is when the creative team performs one of the songs and Travers has a flashback. For a film that is about the writing process, Saving Mr. Banks never really shows about the writing process that Travers goes through, but explores the writing process of adapting a work, from one medium to another.
Saving Mr. Banks is more about fathers and a storyteller emotional connection towards their work than it is about the making of a beloved film. With a focus on the bigger picture it gives a better understanding of the value that storytellers hold to their work which in some form or another is seen as an extension. It's a film that can connects to storytellers as strongly to any kind of audience.