Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Read the film title!!!

While I didn't expect much, I was not really let down. Was it Oscar-winning? Heck no!!! But there actually was a story, which is saying something for any slasher film. The most unrealistic aspect of the whole film was the ample amount of blood that flew from each and every individual that was given a small cut. However unrealistic, I actually felt as if they did a good job of not over-exagerating the fact that this was Abraham Lincoln. Sure, they used Mary Todd, the Gettysburg Address, and slavery, but it never felt like they were trying to force it down your throat. They realized that the story was not true prior to telling it, which really helped it along in my opinion.

Overall, the character depth was lacking, as would be expected. Aside from Abraham Lincoln (played by Benjamin Walker) and Henry Sturgess (played by Dominic Cooper), there was no story at all for any of the films other characters. It made the movie even more shallow than you might originally expect.

Negatives: Anthony Mackey's Will Johnson and Jimmi Simpson's Speed were two character that really played a large role in the film's storyline. However, I never really felt like they fit. Johnson, Speed, and Lincoln would be casually walking around the White House (talking about vampires of course), and it just wasn't at all plausible. On top of that, I never thought the vampires were quite scary or mean enough to take on Honest Abe and his gang. They were certainly more vampirely than those sissy Twilight vampires, but I wanted them to be downright bad! But they weren't...

Positives: Walker's turn as Lincoln was quite impressive in my opinion. I have seen many documentaries or films that involved bringing President Lincoln to life, and Walker outdid any performance that I have seen before. Was he flawless or Oscar-worthy? Heck no!!! However, it could have been much worse. He might have a bright career ahead of him!

With my expectations being as low as possible for a movie I would pay $7 to watch, I would say that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter greatly exceeded said expectations. All it took was a pretty good Lincoln and a so-so story to make one of the worst ideas ever into a so-so movie. Just to warn everyone, this isn't a true story, yet it is a story that can satisfy that guilty pleasure whole in your heart. While I won't be rushing out to buy this film on dvd, I would suggest it for anyone who loves to see excessive amounts of blood shed for no apparent reason. If you don't like those kinds of movies, then just go stare at a penny for a while!  I give Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 2.36 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rock of Ages

While there aren't an abundance of musicals out there in the world, I have seen my share, and I have disliked my share. I don't know why, but I can't grasp any positive anything out of a musical in most cases. It baffles me quite a bit, so I try to steer clear of any musicals that attempt to come my way. Then, here comes Rock of Ages! As a guy who loves classic rock (and Russell Brand), this musical was made for me, if there ever was one. Sure, Tom Cruise looks goofy, Mary J. Blige is annoying, and nobody has ever heard of that one kid; but, if the music could carry my senses away just enough, I might forget my subconscious bias and enjoy the show...

While you can't expect a musical plot to be too deep, usually there is some underlying theme or message that the musical delivers. Honestly, there was no theme or message for the entire film. Almost every song in the film either teaches a lesson or explains an emotion, and they do so in a very successful way. What was lacking was the ability to tie those songs into a larger, more satisfying story. There may have been too much going on or something, but, regardless, the story wasn't there. I don't know how much the film version deviated from the Broadway version, but I would love to see it one day and be able to compare the two.

As I said, there may have been too much going on, and that may have been because of the large cast of characters. There really aren't that many really low points character-wise; I just think the entire film would have been ten times better if more time was spent on each character. It was hard to really care about the characters when they were only on screen for three minutes at a time.

Negatives: In addition to his inability to sing (in a musical), Paul Giamatti, as Paul Gill, got on every last nerve I had. Usually, I am a huge fan of his work, but I wasn't impressed with him here. Also, Constance Sack, played by Malin Ackerman, was completely pointless to the plot of the film. As Stacee Jaxx's love interest, Constance did nothing but take away from Tom Cruise's ability to shine. Finally, Mary J. Blige disgusts me, AS EXPECTED.

Positives: Tom Cruise was not anywhere close to as bad as I thought he was going to be as Stacee Jaxx. Not only did he manage to sing well, but he also cracked me up on multiple occasions. Speaking of cracking up, Russell Brand's Lonny and Alec Baldwin's Dennis made for a hilarious pair that really contained the only surprising aspect of the entire film. However, the best character, by far, has to be Patricia Whitmore, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, who was absolutely hilarious in every single scene that contained her character.

While the music made for a nice experience, I still wasn't completely sold on Rock of Ages. I really wish that there would have been more of a story, because, who knows, I might have loved it. Fortunately, while in New York, I was personally given a copy of the soundtrack by the one and only (sort of average) Julianne Hough, during my two seconds of fame on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Though my story may be exaggerative, the soundtrack is fantastic, and I suggest it for anyone who loves classic rock anthems. I give the Rock of Ages soundtrack 4.21 out of 5 stars, and the Rock of Ages film 2.43 out of 5 stars. That means that you should just buy the soundtrack!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snow White and the Hunstman

After watching nothing but the trailer for Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts, it was fairly simple to choose which 2012 Snow White movie was for me. I mean, come on Julia! That was just awful! Even with the obvious avoidance of Mirror Mirror, on my part, I wasn't uber thrilled to see Snow White and the Huntsman. The main reason I wasn't excited about the film was the setting. For some unknown reason, I cannot stand movies set in medieval times. Hollywood has been off of the medieval kick for a while now, but they will still throw one at us every once in a while. Maybe it is the appropriate setting for the story, but it's not a setting that I love. And we all know that it's all about pleasing me...

To be honest, the plot wasn't too, too bad. This is really where I thought Snow White would fall short of satisfactory. I mean it's hard to make an already famous story MORE interesting in any way possible. However, the entire vibe of the film added a unique, mystical feel to the traditional story. You might ask how a "fairy" tale could become even more mystical, yet Snow White did so by bringing in almost the exact same feel of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. The visual effects were done so well that the story was almost unimportant. I was only focused on how they went about displaying said story for the moviegoers. Was it an Oscar-winning story? Heck no! But it certainly exceeded my expectations.

Where Snow White was successful in the story-telling category, they failed to be in the category of creating interesting characters. As usual, Kristin Stewart utilized her no-talking, let's-just-make-distraught-faces acting methods, which I have never enjoyed. Chris Hemsworth is not really a good actor (he was the low point in The Avengers), and that showed yet again in this film. While Charlize Theron's Ravenna was a very good creation, her performance was quite lacking. There were just too many dorky, stupid moments that could have been avoided if a better actress were chosen.

Best Character: I did enjoy the more dramatic, yet still goofy, take on the seven dwarfs. Without having seen them in the previews, I was wondering if they would even appear in the film, so it was a nice relief when they showed up.

Worst Character: Sam Claflin's William is the easy choice for worst (absolutely stupidest) character. I had no idea why he was even a part of the storyline. If you take him away, the movie would be twice as good.

While it wasn't a complete flop, Snow White and the Huntsman had too many flaws to deserve too much praise. Whoever did the casting should probably be fired. Of course, Kristen Stewart was cast for the purpose of seducing the thousands of mindless teenagers into watching a movie that they would otherwise have no interest in. Those poor, poor girls! The medieval feel was a bit much for me, at times, but the fantastic visual effects made up for that for the most part. I'm sure it was at least 100 times better than Mirror Mirror. I give Snow White and the Huntsman 2.67 out of 5 stars, and urge you to avoid Kristen Stewart at all cost!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


After seeing the many trailers and promo videos for Promotheus, I couldn't help but get very, very excited to see the movie. While science fiction isn't my absolute favorite, when done correctly, it can make some of the most amazing films of all time. I wasn't exactly expecting Prometheus to be one of the most amazing films of all time, but I did expect it to possibly be the best film of the summer (a summer that includes The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises). Damon Lindelof, who co-wrote the film, has one of the most spectacular minds in the history of writing (Can somebody say LOST???), and, with him at the helm, I knew I would not be bored or able to completely understand the movie. Whether you like Alien or not, as this film is an Alien prequel, it looked as if you would be able to enjoy this film. So, in the spirit of all things movies, I hopped on a flight to NYC and enjoyed Prometheus in IMAX 3D!... That rhymed, and I didn't notice until I was proofing...

While the plot certainly wasn't as shallow as Dinocroc or Sharktopus, it wasn't quite as deep as I would have liked. There were certain elements that were left very abstract or unexplained, but they just weren't the right elements. The plot and the unexplained had the potential to be so, so, so good, but it just kind of fell into the good range. However, there were many good aspects of the films as well. While there was a love connection, they didn't dwell on it for too long, which helped make it feel real. The coolest parts, in my opinion, were the moments when you were a bit grossed out, but you couldn't look away. With the advancements in technology since the original Alien film, I felt that Ridley Scott and crew did a great job of not trying to stay too true to the original. It wasn't an extreme change (cough, cough Star Wars), but it was enough to make people in the 21st century enjoy the visual elements.

I'm going to be honest with you here and say that I'm not a huge fan of female leads in action films. If Katniss had been a boy, The Hunger Games probably would have been better. Given that girls always bring some extra form of emotion to the film, it is usually hard to see them as tough. This was not the case (at all) with Noomi Rapace's Elizabeth Shaw. She was plenty tough. Tougher than almost any character I have ever seen. The most amazing scene of the film (which I won't spoil) involves her doing something that made me want to stand up out of my seat and yell "You go girl!" Rapace was just fantastic in the lead. Aside from Idris Elba's Janek, Logan Marshal-Green's Charlie Hollaway, and the following best and worst characters, there weren't too many big characters in the film, which deviated greatly from the original Alien. In the original, everybody was given almost equal time on the screen until they bit the dust, but that was not the case with Prometheus. There were some characters that I had no clue existed until they were dying. I didn't like that these secondary characters had no purpose.

Best Character: Just from watching this video, I knew exactly who I was going to be giving this high honor to, before I even watched the film. David, played by Michael Fassbender, was eerily fantastic. If you go see the film, you will understand why he needed to be in every scene and should get a spin-off or something. It would be great!

Worst Character: While Charlize Theron isn't one of my favorite actors, I didn't think she was going to be awful in this film. Boy was I wrong. Her character, Meredith Vickers, was absolutely useless. I kept waiting for her to have some huge secret or something, but her one big scene was easily predictable (even with my brain malfunctioning at 2 a.m.).

Prometheus isn't going to go down as the best film of the summer, but it will probably go down as the best sci-fi film of the year. There were many moments that stretched the bounds of comprehension and connection, with relation to the original. However, when the final scene began, you felt like your time was well spent to that point. I wish there would have been a little bit more to the film, but you can't always get what you want. The biggest problem that I had was how rushed every scene seemed to be in the final 40 minutes of the film. I give Prometheus 3.28 stars out of 5. Go watch it, and see if you agree!

Great Expectations: June 2012

This was supposed to be posted about a week ago, but I completely forgot about it. Sorry for the tardiness:

The second month of summer movies is upon us! It's so exciting to have a movie to watch every single weekend. The movies are so much more fun when everybody is there. Plus, you can avoid the heat outside by moving into the cushiony, air-cooled rooms known as the theater. It's quite refreshing just thinking about it.

The coolest thing about June is the fact that I am going to New York City for a week, and I am sooooo excited! While in New York, I am going to the midnight premiere of Prometheus right outside of Times Square. I have already brushed up by watching Alien this past weekend. It is going to be fantastic! Also, look for me on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday, June 6! I have a feeling Jimmy is going to come talk to me. Hope your month is as full of excitement as mine will be! Check in frequently for new reviews...

Snow White and the Huntsman (June 1)

Prometheus (June 8)

Ted (June 29)