Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Nosferatu

Posted: August 5, 2011 6:10 pm in Review

Nosferatu

UR – 94 Min – 1922

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Starring Max Schreck as Nosferatu and Gustav von Wangenheim as Hutter, “Nosferatu” is the silent movie classic portrayal of “Dracula”, in which the vampire expresses interest in a new residence. Then after becoming obsessed with the wife of real estate agent Hutter, he travels back to Hutter’s hometown and spreads death everywhere he goes.

This is not only the oldest movie that I have reviewed for Get To The Monkey, but possibly the oldest movie I have ever seen. This film was the first vampire movie that was made. Not only that, but it is also the first time that a vampire dies via sunlight in all of vampire fiction. A very big movie for being a 1922 silent film. I personally was very excited to see it.

The film starts out with our main protagonist, Hutter, picking flowers for his wife. It was kind of an odd way of starting a story, but whatever. It really wastes no time in getting to the monkey, as the next scene is Hutter talking to his boss, Knock, about a Count Orlok who wants to buy a house in the city. From this scene on, the film grabs hold of you and won’t let go. And I’m surprised! It was silent for pete’s sake. But it did. Also, it was very creepy in many scenes.

First off, whenever there is a scene with Max Schreck all done up in his Nosferatu makeup, you will get a very weird chill up your spine. His monstrous eyebrows and creepy teeth and fingers are a haunting image. Plus the way he slinks around and stares at people is just freaky. One neat thing is the incorporation of the old legend of having to invite a vampire to come in. Ellen does this and sacrifices herself by being the pure hearted woman who willingly gives her blood. And that leads to the coolest thing about this movie. The end. He gets so caught up in drinking her blood that loses track of time and is killed by the morning sunlight. Again, for it being a movie from the 20’s, the end scene is very high budget.

My first impression right after the closing credits was that it was mediocre. I let it sink in for a couple days, and realized what a great piece of history this was. A first in many books, and after nearly 90 years, it retained a deep fear factor. This factor, mostly attributed to the lack of sound, was probably horrifying to people in the 1920’s. But for people now (who actually enjoy real horror, or real vampire stories for that matter), it’s refreshing to watch a horror movie that isn’t centered on elaborate death scenes and special effects. I give this one a thumbs up. Especially in these days were “Twilight” is running rampant and killing what used to be known as vampire stories. It’s really cool to sit down and watch how they all started. The real vampire story.

 

Big Fish

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

Big Fish

PG-13 – 125 Min – 2003

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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.

 

Tron: Legacy

Posted: June 24, 2011 8:23 am in Review

Tron: Legacy

PG – 125 Min – 2010

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Starring Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn and Garrett Hedlund as Sam Flynn, “Tron: Legacy” follows the story of the son of a virtual world designer who goes looking for his father and ends up inside the digital world that his father designed. There he meets his father’s creation turned bad and a unique ally who was born inside the digital domain of The Grid.

Ah yes, Tron. I remember trying a few times in my life to get through the original “Tron” from 1982, but I would always lose interest really fast or just fall asleep. So when it was announced that they would be making a sequel, 28 years later, I was excited to see what today’s graphics and animation could do for this story. Well, the exciting colors and impressive display of computer graphics are just about the only thing that’s worth this movies rental.

This was the second movie in a night I had watched starring Jeff Bridges. Earlier that night I had watched “True Grit“, so the transition between the old west and The Grid might have been too much for me. Plus, Jeff’s performance in “True Grit” was so excellent that when I popped this one in I was actually kind of disappointed. He wasn’t horrible, but then again, there wasn’t anything amazing about him either. The one biggest complaint of mine was that they opted to make a complete CG young version of him, rather than have Jeff’s own face then just computer inhance it to cancel out the wrinkles. It’s been done before (in “X-Men: The Last Stand” they did this to both Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen). Garrett Hedlund (last thing I saw him in was “Troy” as Patroclus) did an alright job, again nothing to crazy good. He got kind of annoying after a while actually. Olivia Wilde, now she made the movie for me, her and sexiness. Her character was pretty cool, and she was probably the best actor in the film. Michael Sheen is one of those amazingly talented actors who can only play bad guys. He was Steven Arthur Younger in “Unthinkable”, Lucian in “Underworld”, Lord Oliver in “Timeline”, and apparently Aro in “Twilight” (though were just gonna forget that he’s in that). He looked pretty bad ass as Castor in Tron, and I was glad to see that he hasn’t lost his bad guy flair. Also, Cillian Murphy (I know him as Jackson Rippner from “Red Eye” or Scarecrow from “Batman Begins”, though most know him as Robert Fischer from “Inception”) had a brief role in the beginning of the movie.

Speaking of brief roles, Daft Punk also had a brief spot in the film. Not only that, but they did the soundtrack to the movie. So, needless to say, the soundtrack was pretty beast.

The over all feel for the movie is just that Disney was trying to flex their CG muscles. Besides that spectacle, there really wasn’t much to it. I was a little let down, especially by the ending (it was such a typical Disney ending). There really isn’t anything new under the sun I suppose. Also, I probably would have enjoyed this movie more if it were a “PG-13” rated flick. They could have put in a lot more action that was more action and less stylization. I gave it a solid 2 and a half monkeys. Take it or leave it, I personally did not like it all that much. Well, except for Olivia Wilde.

 

True Grit (2010)

Posted: June 22, 2011 6:14 pm in Review

True Grit

PG-13 – 110 Min – 2010

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Starring Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn, Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross and Matt Damon as LaBoeuf, “True Grit” follows the story of a tough U.S. Marshal when he helps a stubborn young woman track down her father’s murderer.

I am not a man of western movies. I mean, as a kid I watched my fair share of John Wayne films, and that is what I compare that whole genre to. Now, that may be foolish of me, and I may be missing out on some good movies, but I only think of John Wayne when I think of a western. When they unveiled the remake of one of John’s most famous movies (but one of the only ones I have never seen), I felt somewhat interested for once. What I found in this film is that I had been right about missing out.

Being that I don’t have the knowledge of the first film to compare the remake to, I cannot say for sure that this one was better. But, it is hard to imagine that it could have been inferior to it. Jeff Bridges was amazing in this role. I saw him for the first time as Obadiah Stane in “Iron Man”, however I realize now that he’s been in quite a number of famous roles prior to that. And since he made a pretty awesome bad guy in “Iron Man”, I didn’t know if I could shake the typecast I had in my mind. But boy, was I wrong. He shone bright as Rooster, the man with “true grit”. And he was a bad ass, I wouldn’t mess with him, even with only seeing out of one eye. Hailee Steinfeld, who aside from having a last name that sounds identical to a certain comedian I know, is an unknown. She did a great job, at being a pain in the ass little whiner the whole movie. But at least she could act, I guess. I really thought that having Matt Damon, or Jason Bourne to me, in this movie would seem weird and out of place. All up until I saw him in his first scene. Then I was perfectly fine with having him in this role. Not only did he rock it, but he some how shed his secret agent persona when he donned that cowboy hat. Another notable actor was Josh Brolin as the murderous Tom Chaney. He didn’t seem to change much of anything (besides the face makeup) since his last western adventure as Jonah Hex in, well, “Jonah Hex” (Aka- a movie that is a complete and udder waste of your time).

I really enjoyed the movie, and also loved the scenes with LaBoeuf and Rooster when they would get into arguments. Especially when, while Rooster is completely drunk, they have a shooting contest. The movie had a lot of action, and yet, a lot of story line. The Coen Brothers did an excellent job of retelling a famous and loved story, and from what I hear, they stayed very true to the original. If only John Wayne were alive to see Jeff Bridges filling those big boots as the man with “true grit”. Any one thinking they should remake “Rooster Cogburn“?

Check this one out. If you’re a fan of westerns, a fan of Jeff Bridges, or a fan of John Wayne, I think everyone will find something they like in this film. And this coming from the guy who doesn’t like westerns.

 

Saw III

Posted: June 10, 2011 9:47 am in Review

Saw III

R – 108 Min – 2006

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Starring Tobin Bell as Jigsaw and Shawnee Smith as Amanda, “Saw III” follows the story of Jigsaw when he kidnaps a doctor to keep him alive, while he watches his new apprentice put an unlucky person through a brutal test.

This movie really started amping up what I know to be the “Saw” franchise. It picks up with and continues the big game changer that was revealed at the end of number two. There’s really not a whole lot to this installment, other than the fact that it is really not for the faint of heart. The gore and death scenes were pretty haunting, and the acting wasn’t any better than before.There was the first nudity scene from the “Saw” franchise in this one. As with all horror films with nudity, it’s never like “oh look, boobs!”, but rather disturbing.

The thing that struck me as weird was the fact that, in this installment we’re made to feel bad for Jigsaw himself. As if all along he really wasn’t that bad of a guy. Now granted, the reason for this is due to the fact that his apprentice is in a whole new league of demented evil, but still. His apprentice builds the traps in order to brutally kill people, with no way out. The original Jigsaw traps have a way out, with a sacrifice you have to pay. So, in this movie since Jigsaw is so sick and isn’t in charge of making the traps, there are no lessons learned, just rigged death traps with no resolution. Near the end of the movie you’ll start finding yourself routing for Jigsaw, because he “cares” for his victims? I don’t know. The only redeeming aspect of the movie for me was when they had a very detailed portrayal of how what happened just hours before the first movie, showing some pretty interesting things that make so much sense now. Aside from the “oh man I totally didn’t even see that coming” scenes, the movie wasn’t all that great, and didn’t have all that much happening in it. They even did off with Donnie Wahlberg’s character in a very anti climatic way. You would have thought that since he had a major role in the previous film that they would have given him more screen time.

This isn’t great but isn’t the worst movie I’ve seen. I can’t say that I’ve hated any of the “Saw” films, but I can say that I don’t get why they are so vastly popular. Watch this one if you’ve seen the first two and like them, these three really build on each other with some exciting and chilling conclusions in this installment.

 

Tremors

Posted: June 10, 2011 8:07 am in Review

Tremors

PG-13 – 96 Min – 1990

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Starring Kevin Bacon as Valentine McKee and Fred Ward as Earl Bassett, “Tremors” is about the natives of a small isolated town defend themselves against strange underground creatures which are killing them one by one.

I remember watching this one when I was a kid, and while it wasn’t my favorite creature-feature, it was definitely up there. So, hoping that it wasn’t another case of glorified recall, I saw it on Instant queue and decided to give it a shot (again). I pretty much remembered it the exact way as it really was, so that was lucky.

The movie has such a silly story, and yet has the guts at the same time to rival any “supposed to serious” creature -feature (which all have a tendency to be silly in my opinion). I like the fact that this one actually pokes fun at itself, but delivers that thriller feel every once and a while. The story features this rinky dink town called Perfection, with it’s handful of citizens, who start getting picked off by giant underground worms they begin nicknaming “Graboids”. The worms are funny looking, and even funnier when they blow up (they have bright orange blood).

The casting was pretty random, but it actually worked. Kevin Bacon was the big star of the movie, and I actually liked him in this. I usually don’t care for his roles, but this wasn’t too bad. His character, Valentine, is the adventurous one, and also the one who gets the girl at the end (umm spoiler-ish?). His partner Earl, played by Fred Ward, was the straight laced and serious one. In fact, this is the only major role I’ve ever seen this guy do (I saw him in supporting roles in “Corky Romano”, “Joe Dirt” and “Road Trip”). The relationship between these two characters is probably the funniest thing about the movie. They made me crack up multiple times. The love interest of Valentine’s, Rhonda Lebeck, was played by Finn Carter, whom I’ve never seen in anything since. The other main characters were the Gummers, played by Michael Gross and Reba McEntire, Yup, Reba. See, I really wonder if she’s good at anything. She sucks at singing, and sucks at acting. She should have just stayed in a small town and worked at the local grocery store. Of course her song had to be featured in the credits. Anyway, moving on. Michael Gross returned to this franchise in all reincarnations of it (yes, even the t.v. show). I think that goes to show how hard up he was for cash. I did find this interesting, the girl who was hopping on the pogo stick during the film, is Ariana Richards who played Lex Murphy in “Jurassic Park” (my favorite creature-feature).

This movie had a huge cult following, apparently so big that it spawned 2 sequels, a prequel and a television show (and probably a reboot on the horizon). Now, I tried to watch the sequels, but could only make it 10 minutes before I wanted to eat poison and die. Well that’s a bit drastic, but they can’t hold anything on the original. Give it a shot, it’s fun, it’s freaky, it’s a good time. And it’s on Instant queue, so watch it while it’s free.

The Legend of Zorro

Posted: June 3, 2011 7:40 pm in Review

The Legend of Zorro

PG – 129 Min – 2005

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Starring Antonio Banderas as Zorro and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Elena de la Vega, “The Legend of Zorro” is set in 1850 as Alejandro de la Vega lives quietly in San Francisco with wife Elena. But when tyrants threaten to change the course of history, he once more dons his black mask and cape and defends California’s statehood as the sword-swinging Zorro.

When I first saw “The Mask of Zorro” back in 1999, I was hooked. I thought I WAS Zorro. I’d run around with my get up, and at night I would dream about Catherine Zeta-Jones. But for some reason, when the sequel made it’s way to theaters 6 years later, I had no desire to see it. I had this feeling that it wasn’t gonna be as good, that it would only mar my view of the first one. So, I only now decided to see it. And what I discovered was that I had been right 6 years ago.

Boy, this has been a month of me watching sequels. Sequels that don’t live up to predecessors, sequels that lower ratings and end up sucking in result. Well, this sequel turned out to be a mockery of what made the original a lot of fun. It also made the mistake I discussed in “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer“, where it lowered the rating from “PG-13” down to “PG”, and completely reinvented it to appeal to the family film genre. At first I thought for sure that it wasn’t made by the same guy, but it was. There were tons of little cute one liners, so much so that it can be considered a comedy rather than an action film. The action was cheesy and over exaggerated. Like Zorro doing a backflip that lasts 4 rounds in one jump, or his son sliding down the length of the flag pole unscathed. I’m all for alittle cheesiness sometimes, but this didn’t seem right.

There were two villains in the movie, one played by Nick Chinlund (who I know as Toombs from “Chronicles of Riddick” or Daxus from “Ultraviolet”), the other played by Rufus Sewell (who will always be Count Adhemar from “A Knight’s Tale”, but also played a great bad guy in “The Illusionist” as  Crown Prince Leopold). Both of these gentlemen play the most amazing bad guys. If I were to see a movie where either one of them were the good guy, I probably wouldn’t be able to watch it, just because I hate them for their villain roles. So, props to this movie for having both of them as the bad guys. Other than that, the casting pretty much sucked. There was a LOST alum in the movie, and he looked so different. Michael Emerson, AKA Ben Linus, played Harrigan, who was basically a goon.

I really got tired of this movie fast, but I really did want to like it. I was a fan of the first one, but this one lacked all that made the first great. Not as much action, too much goofy comedy, too much family film feel, and Ms. Zeta-Jones not as hot as she used to be didn’t help. Plus, the ending scene on the train was really far fetched, and his son was gonna drive me crazy. Ah well, it’s unfortunate but this one is a pass.