Sunday, April 6, 2008

Ruins, Leatherheads, and Whatever.

Okie dokie, so I haven't posted (again) in a while, but I've made up for it by seeing The Ruins and Leatherheads. However, I will say this first. Do you desire to witness proof of our generation being the one that will end this great world of ours? Go see a movie on a Friday night, any movie, especially one the teens would like to see. There, you'll see the pre-pubescent bastards who like to talk and jabber to oblivion's end while you try to enjoy a good (or bad) movie. Only then will you see that watching movies is not what is used to be, and you'll be so close to knocking out a couple of those pint-sized pricks that you'll realize that you crushed your soda cup spilling your refreshment all over your hand. Or, you yell "shut the [insert obscenity here] up!"

Anywhoo, on to The Ruins.

The Ruins is based on a 2006 novel of the same. The film, as I have not read the book, revolves around four Americans (Jeff, Amy, Stacy, and Eric) and their German friend (Mattias) as they seek out an ancient Mayan pyramid that is pretty much newly discovered. What they find instead is something much more terrifying.
Okay, for the most part, The Ruins is a pretty fun, intense horror film. What's great about the film is that it's not a typical teen slasher flick that relies heavily on gore and boobs. The Ruins is all about tension, the construction of the atmosphere and mood of The Ruins. It feels like a throwback to the old-school horror films that were so great to watch. It's a moody, disturbing (and I do mean disturbing) film that is bloody, but depends more on the atmosphere that is has built up to give the audience a good scare. Now, we do have a group a young, good-looking twentysomethings who look like the type of people that tend to make the stupid decisions that kill off people like them in other horror films. Thankfully, that isn't the case here. The movie shows that they're smarter than the average horror film denizens and does a good job at it. It allows us to connect with the characters on a level not apparent in today's tennie-bopper slasher flicks. Watching the characters try and survive the sheer psychological madness that surrounds them is interesting, but it truly becomes horrifying when they are forced to make decisions that curl your skin. That really helps The Ruins stand out of the crowd. Of course, this aspect would still not work out were it not for the actors who portray our heroes. Johnathan Tucker (Jeff) and Jena Malone (Amy) are the best performers here and really make their characters their own. A surprise here is Shawn Ashmore (Eric) whom you last saw as Iceman in X-Men 3. Didn't like him there? Neither did I, yet I really enjoyed his performance in The Ruins. This goes for Laura Ramsey (Stacy) as well.
All this good word, is there anything wrong with the film? Yes, actually. The one big thing is the ending. The ending is so disappointing, it brings down the movie a few notches. The movie goes from great to pretty good by the time the finale goes around. It's not that the end is bad, it's just unfinished. It makes you believe as of there's still one act left, and then it ends. Just. Like. That. In all, The Ruins is a breath of fresh air in the horror genre, but that damn ending really puts a bad, but not intolerable smell, into the whole thing. The Ruins gets a 7.5/10.

Okay, now here's Leatherheads.
Leatherheads tells the story of Dodge Connelly (George Clooney), a pro football player in a league that sucks. See, the pro football league is extremely unpopular and only draws tiny crowds. College football, on the other hand, is a monster of a sport that draws crowds that number in the tens of thousands. Dodge knows this, so he proceeds to convince war hero-turned-football hero Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski)to join his underdog team, the Duluth Bulldogs. All seems to be going well until the beautiful reporter Lexi Littleton (Renee Zellweger) gets in the middle of things (as all situations turn out).
A comedy period piece. That term can either mean a really good movie or a real stinker. Fortunately, Leatherheads is the former. It turns out to be a great mixture of clever, witty writing and good ol' slapstick comedy. Whatever your flavor, Leatherheads gives. Now first off, this whole things begins with the chemistry between our leads (Clooney, Zellweger, Krasinski). Had there been no chemistry at all between them, the movie would have been a bore. However, I am pleased to say that is not the case. It really is a pleasure watching these characters engage in witty, funny banter, especially when it comes to Clooney and Zellweger portraying a hilarious mix of flirting and downright insults. From there, everything falls into place nicely. Clooney does a wonderful job of directing everything on screen and doesn't make it feel like a big jumbled mess. The film makes you like all the characters in one way or another, or at not like at all (depending on the person). The movie just clicks. Plain and simple. It might not work for some folks, but almost everything works well for Leatherheads. From the soundtrack and music used, to the way the games are filmed, to the ridiculous antics that the characters engage in throughout the movie, Leatherheads doesn't fail to deliver. The movie doesn't try to beat you over the head with some sort of moral or get you to think one way or another. The film was made to make you laugh and enjoy the movie for what it is (like all films should in the end). For the all the movies that try to be one thing and end up failing, Leatherheads is an honest film that wants to make you have a good laugh and enjoy it. You can tell I really like this film. Leatherheads scores a 9.0/10.

Okay, people. Enjoy your week. I'll check out Street Kings for ya next week. However, I refuse to see Prom Night. Dear God, I will not see Prom Night...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Fast Food and Revelations

You know, I had sort of an epiphany the other day. I went to McStrokes the other day and ordered a double cheeseburger to quiet the hunger pang rebellion that was currently underway. When I got my food and opened the wrapper to reveal that greasy bastard, I noticed something. The patties, which are supposed to aligned with each other, were actually falling out of each side of the burger. It looked like someone had just tossed the patties onto the bun without care or regard. I thought it was kind of inconsiderate, seing as how I paid for their damn food and the least they can do is not make my food a mess and a potential driving hazard (that's a different story). However, I soon realized that previous double cheeseburgers had not been this messed up before except when they were ordered at night. Then, it hit me: the day shift people are the ones actually work and try to deliver semi-good food. The night shift folks there seem to not take any care or interest in properly fixing the food to the best of their abilities. So what I mean to say is...never get food from McDonald's at night.

Oh, and how in the hell did The Golden Compass get the Oscar for best Visual Effects over TRANSFORMERS! The effects in Transformers were incredible! The Golden Compass had some good effect, but they paled in comparison to Transformers. I guess the (stupid) equation goes like this:
Polars Bears=EPIC WIN
Awesome robots=FAIL

Damn Hollywood.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Official: HD-DVD Is No More

Here is the news. I weep for now, but look forward to the future, but hopefully we'll see Jurassic Park in Blu-Ray someday...if Universal wants to. So long, HD-DVD, and good luck, Toshiba, on all your future endeavors!

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Well, it's safe to say that the life of HD-DVD has been cut short. Earlier this week, Netflix and Wal-Mart announced they are dropping HD-DVD support and going exclusive to Blu-Ray. This is all after Warner Brothers went exclusive to BD on January 5. So, is this truly the death blow to HD-DVD? My friends, I believe it is, at least according to this article. I myself am sad to see the format go. It was the first High Def formant I bought, mainly most of my favorite movies are from Universal, and Universal is (currently) exclusive to HD-DVD. That's why it will always have a special place in my...void where a heart should be. Now, however, we have the fanboys who come out from the moss infected caves to troll and generally bother everyone else. The biggest of these trolls? The equally hated Micheal Bay.

Well, Micheal Bay is a strong supporter of BD, but the man has a tendency to cross that fine line between support and fanaticism. Never I have seen a grown man, let alone a famous film director, act in such a childish way before. When Paramount went exclusive to HD-DVD, he went on a small internet rant saying that he won't come back for Transformers 2 because of the deal. Of course, he simmered down the next day, but, jeez, he made himself look like spoiled brat angry that mommy didn't buy that piece of candy he wanted. Now, he's doing it again. How can Bay say that he was the one the told everybody? Umm, Micheal...EVERYONE ALREADY KNEW YOU BOOB! "No one believed me." Dude, no one wants to listen to a guy who makes himself sound like an immature 12 year old. You weren't the oracle who foresaw the fall of HD-DVD. You were just a strong supporter of BD who quickly turned into a fanboy/troll. Whatever milligram of respect this man had I'm sure was lost soon after this. Grow up, Bay.

Anywho, I'm glad to get that off my chest. Like I said, the Sony/PS3 fanboys are coming out calling everyone stupid for having bought HD-DVD. My question is, why? HD-DVD is just as good BD, even BD has more storage capacity than HD. They both look and sound just as good (I know, since I have both)and they both have/had a great selection of movies. The only thing is, HD had better special interactive features and had the ability to have double sided discs for consumers who still hadn't made up their minds. These fanboys thrive on putting people down, and it fucking annoys. Seriously, they act as if all HD disks and players are just going to stop working. No they won't. And, to any troll that reads this, I am perfectly happy with my 20+ HD collection. The only difference now is that I should start shopping for BD now. Also, they act as if the PS3 is now going to dominate the market and crush all of its competition. No, it won't. If anything, all the consoles will have an incredible year. The only thing is that the PS3 will have a significantly better year than last. That's really it.

Now that I'm done with my rant, I can go on. So, HD is dead and BD will most likely thrive, right? Not necessarily. Remember folks, the market still heavily favors standard DVDs. High Def DVDs only make up a small percentage of the market. Just because BD has won this format war doesn't mean it will be the de facto standard for all future DVDs. It still has long way to go before it even permeates the DVD market. However, with HD sadly out of the way, we'll just have to see if BD can continue it's success into the years. I can't really say whether or not BD will still be around a few years from now, but I can say that we will witness an interesting year for BD, at least in terms of films not games (that's another subject).

So, with a heavy heart, I say farewell, HD! You had a good run, and gave me a pretty extensive HD collection. Now, all I need is Jurassic Park in some High Def format. That will be a glorious day indeed!

Oh, and I promise I'll update more often. Hopefully. Maybe.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Apologies and Elizabeth

Well, it has been a good while since I posted a, so I promise I'll update regularly...if anyone reads this that is.

Anywho, I once again apologize to my friends who invited me to see a motion picture and was unable to attend, mainly because I had temporarily misplaced my phone that was on silent.

I went to go see "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" today, and I can say I was rather pleased with the outcome of the film. Rather than cover a broad piece of Elizabeth's reign, the film primarily focuses on one pivotal moment in her reign that also affected the outcome of England, Spain, and the rest of history. Those of you who know your history can probably know what I am talking about. The movie itself is dazzling to behold with some very elaborate and beautiful sets that perfectly capture England in the late sixteenth century. Shekar Kepur's direction very nicely keeps the movie and plot moving forward, though the film tends to bog down at times. This is one of the movie's main faults: the subplots involving Elizabeth, Walter Raleigh, and her maiden assistant Bess feels more like a historical soap opera than a highly moving tale of love. Still, the humanity of the film and its characters never gets too lost, which is important because that is the film's biggest strength. Cate Blanchett once again pulls off an Oscar worthy performance that really reminds everyone of how great of an actress she is. Clive Owen, instead of playing yet another badass with a chip on his shoulder, brings a surprisingly great performance as well with a certain likability to his character that really makes Raleigh a cool personality. One thing to complain though is Geoffrey Rush. No his part wasn't bad. On the contrary, he was one of the best characters, but he was severely underutilized this time around. Why? I don't know, but it was disappointing. Still, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" is a great film that never strays far from being the character driven opus it should be. If you like the first film, like historical films, or just wanna see a smart, mature tale, "Elizabeth" may just be what you're looking for. 8.5/10.

Don' forget...Planet Terror and Transformers both come out (on DVD and HD-DVD, respectively) on Tuesday! I'll see everyone later.