Archive for July, 2011

X-Men: The Animated Series

Posted: July 20, 2011 9:01 am in Television

Originally running from 1992-1997, this animated series ran through many of the original storylines from Stan Lee’s comics. I remember catching a few re runs as a kid, but never got to watch a whole season. So now, thanks to Netflix Instant Queue, I got to watch all 5 seasons.

I really enjoyed this series. Yea, its full to the brim of 90’s cartoon cheese. But hey, it’s your typical Saturday morning cartoon. And since I was more of a reader in the 90’s (I would spend hours in used book stores reading these comics), I knew these famous stories already. Throughout the span of the 5 seasons they cover the “Dark Phoenix Chronicles”, “Days of Future Past” and “Legacy Virus”. This made the show for me. Because, to be honest, the voice acting and dialogue was gonna drive me nuts.

The final thing about this show I thought was really cool, was seeing how much the live action X-Men films used this show as inspiration for their character development and the way they talk/act. The best examples of that is Wolverine and Beast. The worst was Professor X. His cartoon version is seriously lacking Sir Patrick Stewart’s power and awesome English accent. So that was a good change for the live action films.

Overall, there’s a lot to love about this show, with only minor things to dislike. Any fan of the live action films will find enough similarities to like it, while the comic fans will enjoy seeing a bunch of classic storylines and characters wearing the classic uniforms come to life. Fun, very 90’s, and Marvel. Whats not to like?


Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Posted: July 19, 2011 5:33 pm in Theatrical Review

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

PG-13 – 157 Min – 2011

Check Out The Trailer

Starring Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Carly Spencer, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” follow the Autobots as they learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and then race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.

It almost seems too soon for another Transformers movie. Yes, the time between the first two movies was two years, just as between the last two. But, I can’t help but feel that this one was a little rushed. Despite that, I saw this movie not only in theaters on opening weekend, but in IMAX. And not only IMAX, but 3D. Hey, it had to be an epic installment right?

One thing can be said about this installment, it did not feel like the normal Transformers movie. The previous movies were action filled, but entirely light hearted in the core due to the amount of jokes (especially from Shia). This one toned down the jokes and went in a rather dark direction. The whole movie leaves you feeling despair and that all hope is lost for these characters that we’ve come to know since “Transformers” in 2007. I mean, the earth is getting utterly destroyed by the Decepticons. Like there is almost nothing left by the end of the movie. One comedic aspect that wasn’t absent, however, was Shia’s signature scream that he’s been doing since “Even Stevens” . That was during the first of two times in the film that a car transforms with a person inside (a complete first in the series, and I thought it was hilarious).

The casting was pretty much the same as the previous two films. Shia LaBeouf returned to his role as Sam, and actually made this go ’round a little different. We see a Sam who is completely tired of whats happening to his life. He has saved the world many times over, and yet he can’t tell anyone about it. This frustration comes to light in one of many job interviews he goes on. His parents were again played by Kevin Dunn and Julie White, and they were just as funny as ever. Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson also returned to play Lennox and Epps, and rounding out the returning cast members was John Turturro as Simmons (probably one of everybody’s favorite characters). The spot previously filled by Megan Fox for the “hottie of the movie” was filled in by a no experience actress named Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who only got the role because she’s ridiculously good looking (she was a Victoria Secret model for pete’s sake). Patrick Dempsey came in as an awkward bad guy named Dylan (even though I never watched a single episode, he’s known to me as the doctor from “Grey’s Anatomy”). Also new to the cast was John Malkovich (after hating him for so long, this guy redeemed himself for me when he played Marvin Boggs in “Red”).

The storyline for the movie was probably the most iffy thing to me. It felt less like a movie about transforming robot cars, and more like an alien invasion film (and God knows we’ve seen enough of those). The pacing was set to high the entire movie, and because of that you get rushed through some scenes without getting to fully take in the amount of special effects that were put into this. The overwhelming nature of this film acts as a distraction to an Autobot’s death as well. I mean, there were definitely some parts to the film that were great, but if you are viewing this as part of a trilogy, it doesn’t do justice to the previous two. I honestly didn’t really like the turn for the dark that they went for. With Sam flying off the handle at everyone in the movie and getting in fights that he knew he couldn’t win, and the Autobots dying off or almost dying off every five seconds, none of it seemed to be in character for anyone.

The greatest thing about this movie can be summed up to two words. Leonard Nimoy. Not only is he Spock, but c’mon, he’s has the most bad ass voice (with Liam Neeson in second for that trophy). Him voicing one of the transformers was perfect. No other words can be said but that. As well as having him in the movie, there’s a scene where a couple of the small Autobots are watching television in Sam’s apartment, and what are they watching? An old “Star Trek” episode with Spock in the scene. That made me very happy inside (on that same note there is another reference to “Star Trek” when Sam mentions that somewhere looks like the bridge of the Enterprise). In the same scene, if you look on the wall as Sam passes, there is a poster for a band named “The Dandy Warhols”. This is cool to me because, not only are they an indie band, but they did the theme song to one of my favorite shows “Veronica Mars”.

Over all, movie is decent. It’s a decent installment to a good series, it’s a decent action movie, and it’s a decent special effects movie. Had I not seen it in IMAX 3D, I probably wouldn’t have been as impressed as I was. I cannot say for certain whether or not it’s worth a watch, but I will say this. If you care at all about the direction that this story line was going, watch it. If you got bored after “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, it’s not worth your time. I did hear that this is Shia’s last time screaming “OPTIMUS!”. So, really should we even bother?


Big Fish

Posted: July 6, 2011 8:06 am in Review

Big Fish

PG-13 – 125 Min – 2003

Check Out The Trailer

Starring Ewan McGregor as Ed Bloom and Billy Crudup as Will Bloom, “Big Fish” is about a son who knows nothing of his dying father’s life aside from the mythical stories he would tell him as bedtime stories.

Everybody has that grandfather who will sit you down on his lap and tell you wild and outlandish tales of his life. Mine most certainly did, and that is perhaps why my imagination was so wild has a kid. This movie is precisley those kind of stories, only come to life. And what better director in the world could do this besides Tim Burton? I say nobody.

The movie starts out with Ed Bloom telling his son, Will,  a wild story about catching a fish using his wedding ring as bait. As the story progresses the scene changes as Will grows up, and we see that he tells that story to everyone in his sons life. Will grows to resent his father when he tells that story at his own wedding, and says that his father always makes every situation about him. They decide not to speak anymore, until a few years later, Ed starts to die. Will realizes that he knows nothing about his father, and comes to his side to hear the true story. Only, Ed’s been telling these tall tales to his son for so long that he tells his whole life story in that manner.

That’s basically all there is to it. The fun factor in the movie is most certainly the portrayal of Ed’s life. Tim Burton does a great job making a world that fits perfectly with Ed’s stories. Every little detail that the old man “remembers”, no matter how crazy, is portrayed. Ewan McGregor played the Ed in the memories, while Albert Finney played Ed in the present. Both did a great job playing the same character and the two blended well. Ed’s wife, Sandra, was played by two really good actresses. Jessica Lange played Sandra in the present, and Alison Lohman played her in the memories. This was the best match I’ve seen Hollywood do for finding an actress who looks like a younger version of the other. I enjoy watching Alison’s roles (I know her as Angela from “Matchstick Men” and Trace from “Gamer”). Will Bloom was played by Bill Crudup whom I’ve only seen as Dr. Manhattan in “Watchmen” and J. Edgar Hoover in “Public Enemies”. Another notable performance in this film is from Tim Burton’s wife herself, Helena Bonham Carter. She played the old and young version of Jenny, and also played the witch. I love watching her, cause she is always such a great actress. I couldn’t say I know her as anyone but two of my favorite roles of her’s were, The Red Queen from “Alice in Wonderland” and Mrs. Bucket from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. Steve Buscemi was in this as well, and just as weaselly as he’s always been.

Over all, if you like Tim Burton’s wild and imaginative stories, then you’ll like this. I personally love it, and couldn’t picture this turning out any better if it were from anyone else. Go ahead and give it a shot. It may not be the absolute greatest film, but it’s a fun couple of hours.