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A Fake Review of Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers was dumb. I huffed and snorted so much during Transformers 2 that despite all the noisy explosions, by brother still had to tell me to shut up. Transformers 3 was perhaps the worst of all, in that it was so mediocre I didn’t even enjoy tearing it apart. There was no chance of me going to see Transformers: Age of Extinction, is the point I’m trying to get at. But since it was the only new movie playing this week at my theater, I present you this in lieu of a review.

Transformers Age of Extinction

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Trailer Reviews for June 27, 2014

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION



NO. Making one of the robots a dinosaur DOES NOT MAKE IT LESS DUMB.

THEY CAME TOGETHER



You had me at “from the creators of Wet Hot American Summer.” Seriously, you can’t go wrong with Paul Rudd or Amy Poehler. Put them together and you could get away with murder… ing the romantic comedy genre! (hur hur)

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DVDs for July 23, 2013

trance

Trance

Danny Boyle movies rarely slip by without a lot of people taking notice and making a big deal over them, but Trance did, probably because it’s just not as good as Slumdog Millionaire or Sunshine. James McAvoy works at an auction house and his job is to hide the expensive paintings if thieves come to steal them. Thieves come, he hides the painting, then they hit him on the head and hire a hypnotist to mess around in his brain with the ultimate goal of finding out where the painting is. It deliberately messes with you, so if you don’t like being confused and/or frustrated, watch something else.

Buy Trance on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

riders of berk

Dragons: Riders of Berk

This ‘movie’ is really a kids’ TV series that has already been released on the Cartoon Network. There are only twenty 22 minute episodes, but for some reason Dreamworks went the Battlestar Galactica route and released them on two separate DVDs. Probably to try and weasel more money out of you. The show itself is good, almost as good as the movie, and it stars the same voice actors. Post-movie, the town of Berk has opened a Dragon Academy and each episode features a standalone problem that requires dragon and human cooperation. However, you don’t really need to part with $26 just to watch it. Someone’s already uploaded them all to YouTube.

Buy Dragons: Riders of Berk Part 1 and Part 2.

love and honor

Love and Honor

Now that Liam Hemsworth is well known as “the much hotter dude” who doesn’t get to be Katniss’ boyfriend from The Hunger Games (see the Honest Trailer), you might be looking to see something where he gets the girl. And boy does he ever in this one. Love and Honor is a sappy, stilted, weirdly clean-cut Vietnam War movie about a soldier who flies home on leave with his buddy to help the buddy win back his hippy girlfriend and ends up with a hippy girlfriend of his own. It feels like a god movie with the god stuff missing, but if you like Hallmark Channel movies, you might like it.

Buy Love and Honor on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

turtles 3

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3

If the three Transformers movies aren’t enough reason to stay away from the Michael Bay reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, buy these DVDs and relive the awesomeness of your childhood all over again. Then think of how bad the first set of live action films were. Then think of Michael Bay and how he’s going to turn April O’Neil into Megan Fox, and vow to keep your money in your pocket. Seriously, as long as people keep going to the trainwrecks he produces, people will continue to hire him to produce more trainwrecks. IT’S A VICIOUS CYCLE.

Buy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 3 on DVD.

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Trailer Reviews for February 15, 2013

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD



Damn. For a Die Hard movie, this trailer is BO-RING. It’s forty seven snoozeworthy seconds before anything explodes. I looked through a bunch of different teasers and trailers on the diehardmovie YouTube account and they were all boring, right out of the gate. Classical music? Flat, uninteresting dialogue? What’s up with that? Are they making us wait for it? Do they think that just because everyone knows the Die Hard franchise that we’ll give it a free pass? Well you won’t get one from me, A Good Day to Die Hard. I think that the Die Hard movies are pretty reliably decent as far as meatheaded action movies go, but this trailer inspires nothing but apathy in me for the new sequel. I won’t be going.

SAFE HAVEN



Josh Duhamel, I think you’re hot. I went to see the Transformers sequels, despite the fact that I knew they would be terrible, because you were in them. However, I draw the line at suffering through another sappy Nicholas Sparks tragedy just to watch you get your smolder on. I didn’t mind The Lucky One because Sparks messed it up and the tragedy missed the main characters, or Dear John, because the filmmakers changed the ending, but I’m not going to delude myself into thinking it could happen again. Something obvious and terrible will befall the young lovers (who kinda sound like they’re phoning it in, actually) and tears will be slapped from your face. If Nicholas Sparks wasn’t so famous, the movie adaptations of his novels would be movies of the week on cable, not worldwide theatrical releases.

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES



I’m not a fan of these books. Hell, I haven’t even read them. But I’m SO GLAD the movie adaptation is coming out this week because it means I won’t have to pay like $14 to see the uninspiring new Die Hard movie or another godawful Nicholas Sparks movie. There are several things I find promising about Beautiful Creatures: the disintegrating Southern culture aspect (it’s not completely moving away from the ‘typical American teen’ cliché but it’s a start), the destiny vs choice aspect of whether the main character turns light or dark, the fact that it’s the girl who has the superpower and the boy who’s normal (in teen paranormal romance it’s almost always the other way around) and of course Emma Thompson as an evil witch. Emma Thompson! As an evil witch! Awesome. Looking forward to it.

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DVDs for Sept 27, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers: Dark of the Moon isn’t the worst movie in the world. That honor goes to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Instead, it’s something worse: blah. This story, about a nerdy twenty-something loser with giant robots for friends rescuing his inexplicably beautiful girlfriend from other giant robots who want to turn the Earth into a robot resort, is not bad enough to laugh at and not good enough to enjoy unless all you care about are special effects. Avoid! Avoid! Read my full review for more reasons why.

Buy Transformers: Dark of the Moon on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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Trigun: Badlands Rumble

You know it’s a slow week for movie releases when I resort to talking about Japanese anime. Based on the Trigun TV series, the film follows the preposterously named Vash the Stampede as he wanders around the Japanese interpretation of the American West trying not to get killed by all the bounty hunters who want to take him out because of the reward on his head from some bank robbery from 20 years ago. It fits in to the side of the plotline of the series. If you like anime, maybe you’d want to watch it, but I don’t so I won’t.

Buy Trigun: Badlands Rumble on DVD or on Blu-Ray.
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Ben Hur: 50th Anniversary Edition

Yes, I realize that Ben Hur actually came out in 1959, but they’re releasing a special Blu-Ray edition for its 50th anniversary, so that’s enough to include it on a week like this, where there’s almost nothing coming out. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Ben Hur is the story of a vengeful Jewish prince who becomes a slave to the Romans. This edition is loaded with special features, including a feature length documentary, Charlton Heston’s diary, and the academy awards telecast where the movie won 11 Oscars. If you’re going to get it, this is the version you want.

Buy Ben Hur on DVD or on Blu-Ray.
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Without Men

And to round out the set, we’ve got a straight to DVD romantic comedy starring Christian Slater! (I told you it was a slow week). At least, it’s supposed to be funny, but the setup they chose to get rid of the men isn’t exactly funny – they were all kidnapped and forced to be communist guerillas! This movie is also likely to anger even the least virulent feminist, because apparently after all the men leave all the women are completely hopeless. “Who will look after me?” they cry. Add in the fact that it stars Eva Longoria, and you’ve got a recipe for horrid. No matter how bored think you are, you are not bored enough to enjoy this film.

Buy Without Men on DVD.
.

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review

poster from the Paramount Pictures film Transformers Dark of the Moon

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was widely derided (by me) as one of the worst movies ever made. Filmed without a script and consisting of almost three hours of disconnected slow motion robot fighting, its epic failure to make sense was what convinced me that seeing Transformers: Dark of the Moon might not be such a waste of time, because at least I’d get a funny review out of it. Unfortunately, this plan started falling apart even at the trailer stage, when I was able to actually discern a plot that made a kind of sense.

The evil Decepticon robots clash with the good Autobot robots allied with the United States in order to steal a secret weapon that was recovered from a crashed ship on the moon during the Apollo 11 space mission.

But I thought I’d see it anyway because this was a Michael Bay movie, so there was a decent chance the main plot would be so overburdened by superfluous subplots that the whole thing would collapse in on itself like a black hole (kind of like what happened to the first Transformers) movie. Sadly, now that I’ve seen it, I have to report that Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the worst thing a movie can be: mediocre.

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Trailer Reviews for July 1, 2011

TRANSFORMERS 3: DARK OF THE MOON



My loathing for the second title in this series, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen is well documented. I hate it so much that this one cannot possibly be bad enough to rival it. There are several things about it that give me hope that I might not want to kill myself to end the agony while I’m watching it. The first is that the first thirty or so seconds of this trailer makes Transformers 3 look like another, different sci-fi movie that I might actually like to see (then they showed Shia LaDouche, as my friend Angella calls him, and ruined it). The second is that since the writers are no longer on strike, there may actually have been a script written for the film. And the third is that Megan Fox has been replaced (by a British faux Megan Fox, but anything would be an improvement). Will it be enough to save Transformers 3 from a review heaped with scorn? We shall see.

MONTE CARLO



Call me crazy, but I actually kind of want to see this. It’s like a bubblegum take on the Prince(ess) and the Pauper. Sure it’s got the same travel/cultural clash jokes that every movie featuring an American going somewhere else (how many times are they going to recycle that same “American plug, foreign socket” thing??) and her friends almost look old enough to have children who are Selena Gomez fans, but it’s got a weird kind of charm to it. I suppose it helps that Selena Gomez is a celebrity of the Disney variety – i.e. wholesome and not actually a bad role model for impressionable youngsters. If there wasn’t such a huge potential for hilarity in the a Transformers 3 review, I’d see this instead.

LARRY CROWNE



I like Tom Hanks as much as the next person, but I just feel like I’ve seen this movie before. In fact, I think Hanks’ whole generation of uber-celebrities have each made their own “I’m old and washed up but look how quirky/hopeful/bittersweet/action packed my life still is” movies. Mel Gibson’s got The Beaver, Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin made It’s Complicated, Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich were in RED… hell, even Indiana Jones was old and creaky (but still spry and funny!) in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. This is the same sort of thing. The theme isn’t new anymore, but it looks half decently funny. I’ll probably catch it on DVD.

THE MOUNTIE



Oh… kay. So this is like Eastern Promises crossed with Deadwood, but in Canada? That music was totally wrong for the visuals and the font they used made it look like they put the trailer together in Windows Movie Maker, so I don’t have high hopes of this being any good. Even if I liked mobster stories (which I don’t) I still wouldn’t see it. There is the slight tug of “but it’s Canadian…” but this tug has never really been strong enough to drag me into the theaters to see movies I didn’t already think I might like. Pass.

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Hollywood Needs New Boots

I read an article online yesterday that they’re rebooting the Tomb Raider movie franchise. The last movie in that series, Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, came out in 2003. That’s less than ten years ago, and it starred people (Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Daniel Craig, etc.) who are both still alive and still famous. There was nothing wrong with the movies plot or production wise that screamed out for a do-over. Special effects haven’t advanced all that much in the intervening years, except for 3D, which doesn’t make things seem any more real, just more gimmicky. So why the hell do they need to reboot it?

It’s the same thing with Spider-Man. They’re rebooting that franchise with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker instead of Toby Maguire. It’s only been four years since Spider-Man 3 came out. Three years since the DVD. Geez Hollywood, how short do you think our attention spans ARE? And furthermore, why do we need to keep remaking the same old things anyway? Is there really such a shortage of new material that it’s necessary to reboot or remake all the old stuff instead? (Answer: no.)

The reason they keep doing this is because we, the ticket buying public, have shown a proclivity towards buying tickets for things we’re already familiar with. We play it safe, and go to yet another Saw movie instead of a new movie about a Brazilian door-to-door salesman with a briefcase full of murderous spiders. So when the studios are given the choice between rebooting a done-to-death franchise like Spider-Man that was popular just a few years ago and adapting something different, they’ll choose ol’ faithful almost every time.

If you ever find yourself getting annoyed by the fact that there are ten movies playing in your theater that don’t have one original idea among them, remember: it’s all your fault for buying a ticket to Transformers 2 that time. I told you it would come back to bite you.

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New Words for Movie Reviews

If I hear one more movie described as “a high-octane thrill ride” or “laugh out loud funny,” I’m going to gnaw off my own arm in annoyance (not really. I need two arms to type). I’d lambaste the movie reviewers who keep using the same reviews for everything, but I can’t really blame them. A bjillion movies come out each year and most of them are not appreciably different from the ones that have come before. There are only so many words in the English language to describe the same thing (yes, I know they’re called synonyms, smart ass) and we’re running out, throwing the movie criticism industry into crisis.

Some reviewers have tried to work around the rapidly evaporating pool of witty criticisms by simply comparing new movies to old ones:

“[insert name of move that came out this year] is this year’s [insert name of similar movie that came out last year]!”

EXAMPLES:

Observe and Report is this year’s Bad Santa!”

“Iron Man 2 is this year’s Iron Man!”

Other reviewers make claims that whatever new movie they’ve seen is the best of some genre (just not any genre that’s already been topped by a movie that’s actually good.) A tightly confined, made up category, usually further narrowed down by being limited to the current year:

“[insert name of movie] is the best [insert four qualifying adjectives] of the year!”

EXAMPLES:

Tangled is “Disney’s best non-Pixar animated movie since 1994!”

“Dinner for Schmucks is the best awkward dinner comedy starring a former Daily Show correspondent of 2010!”

The smart ones, however, realize that it’s not going to take very long for people to notice a pattern in their obvious contortions to say something new and complimentary that will end up on the DVD box. These savvy but still panicked critics often resort to using random, semi-applicable dictionary words that nobody understands.

Duplicity is an “effervescent espionage with two irresistible forces”!
TRANSLATION: Duplicity is lively and exhilarating and it has two sexy people in it.

Babies is a “joyous and buoyant new documentary”!
TRANSLATIONS: Happy babies float in water?

Since all of these movie critics seem to be having so much trouble coming up with things to say, I thought I would help them out by appropriating, mutilating, and outright inventing new words that can be used to describe common facets of moviemaking. Hopefully they’ll put off the impending crisis for a few months until the new urban dictionary comes out and everyone can switch to street slang, yo. I’ll list them for you here along with their definitions. I’ll even use them in a sentence, like this is a spelling test.

Hyperventalatory

From the verb “to hyperventilate,” which means to breathe so quickly you can’t get enough oxygen. In this context, it means a movie that causes extreme excitement and/or fear.

EXAMPLE: “A Perfect Getaway is a hyperventalatory thriller that has made me afraid to go on vacation.”

Volumized

A made-up word usually used to describe the eyelash engorging effects of mascara, but in this case it means a movie that has less substance than it appeared to have, often because of an unusually good trailer.

EXAMPLE: “The Dilemma has been volumized to the point where a great idea for a five minute sketch was drawn out into a terrible ninety minute movie.”

Ectopic

A term that is usually used in medicine to describe a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus and must be aborted. In this case it describes a movie that is based on an extremely out of the box idea that just didn’t work.

EXAMPLE: “I was expecting it to be fun, but Michael McGowan’s Score: a Hockey Musical turned out to be ectopic.”

Thicktastic

From the root “thick,” a slag term used to describe a stupid person, it describes movies for muscle-bound thickos that are actually good or at least fun to watch, usually starring former sports players.

EXAMPLE: “Sylvester Stallone’s thicktastic new movie The Expendables will find a home on my action shelf.”

Antihesive

An invented antonym (opposite) to “cohesive,” which means something that makes sense or fits together well. It describes a movie that just can’t seem to keep itself together.

EXAMPLE: “Resident Evil Apocalypse turned out to be extremely antihesive, bouncing between plot points that had nothing to do with each other.”

Unicornacious

From the root “unicorn,” which is a magical horse-like beast with a horn on its forehead. It describes a film that is impossibly awesome and sharp, but that looked, at first glance, to be something ordinary.

EXAMPLE: “You could be excused for getting Easy A confused with Postgrad, but make no mistake: Easy A is extremely unicornacious.”

Luciferian

From the root “Lucifer,” one of the many names for the devil. Used to describe movies made by people who seem to hate their audiences.

EXAMPLE: “In a luciferian attempt to cause uncontrolled bleeding in viewers’ brains, David Fincher let Zodiac run on for nearly three hours before pulling the plug on its inconclusive plot.”

Fossicker

From the verb “to fossick,” a mining term from Australia/New Zealand which describes looking for gems and minerals in the scrap heap from an old mine. It is used to describe a director or writer whose Blockbuster movies are based on ideas stolen from other people’s reject files.

EXAMPLE: “When Michael Bay took the brief, aborted inclusion of human beings in the Transformer cartoons and turned them into a whole trilogy of big budget movies, he went down in history as Hollywood’s biggest fossicker.”

Strychnatic

Based on the root “strychnine,” which is a bitter alkaloid poison. It describes movies that have been made by bitter, angry filmmakers.

EXAMPLE: “Michael Moore’s strychnatic documentary, Farenheight 911, blames everyone and their dog for the trouble the country is in.”

Ecliptic

Usually used in astronomy to describe the orbital paths of celestial bodies. In this case it refers to a movie that goes around and around the point but never gets to it.

EXAMPLE: “Legion’s maddeningly ecliptic plot was supposedly about a modern day Mary but kept detouring away for monster battles and angsty reunions between angels.”

Bonobous

Based on the root “Bonobo,” which is a species of great ape previously known as the Pygmy Chimpanzee. It is used to refer to a movie which was obviously made by monkeys.

EXAMPLE: “Leap Year is the most bonobous excuse for a romantic comedy since a monkey actually got hold of of a film camera and taped itself picking nits off its girlfriend.”

Dystrophic

A word usually used in medicine to describe the degenerative effects of faulty nutrition. In this case it refers to a franchise that has been slowly disintegrating due to poor writing.

EXAMPLE: “The Clone Wars is just the latest entry in an increasingly dystrophic series of Star Wars spinoffs designed solely to sponge money from nerds with OCD.”

If you’re stuck on a review, feel free to use the above words to make it more original. At least until enough people start using them for them to become cliched, and then it’s back to the drawing board. After a few years we’ll be doing all our descriptions in Portuguese.

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Inception: Why it’s not as awesome as you think (or as awful)

There seems to be something of a war going on over Christopher Nolan’s latest film Inception. On one side you’ve got the online critics (like Laremy Legel from Film.com), who seem to be in a competition to get a quote on the DVD box, and the print critics (like Andrew O’Hehir from Salon) who seem to be using the movie as an excuse to unload all their bottled up vitriol on the undereducated internet plebs.

If you haven’t seen Inception, it’s about a team of thieves who steal ideas from people’s dreams. They decide to attempt a supposedly impossible feat – planting an idea. It’s really cool to watch but it had major consistency issues and that’s all I can say to you right now without giving away the plot. If you want to keep reading, go see the movie. I’ll wait.

Back? Well, just to be safe, I’m going to give this warning (cover your ears).

CAUTION! THIS ARTICLE WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS! DO NOT CLICK ‘READ MORE’ UNLESS YOU ARE OK WITH BEING EXPOSED TO SPOILERS!!!!

For those of you who have seen Inception and were confused by it, you may be interested to know that this is not your fault.

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