At Face Value: Edge of Tomorrow

I had intended to shoot this review, but I’m about to leave for 2 weeks, and by then the review will almost be a month late, i say to hell with it and will start up again when i get back. In the meantime i will POST the scripts to my reviews.

Opening title

Edge of Tomorrow is not as original as people claim, the whole reliving one day thing (gun loading SFX look off-screen and BANG, cut to: )

Opening Title

Edge of Tomorrow is not as original as people claim, the whole reliving one day thing (duck and gunshot) has been done before. In the genre of Comedy: we have groundhog day, in straight concept sci-fi: There’s Source code. Edge of Tomorrow, if you couldn’t guess, is sci-fi action. It’s good sci-fi action, it’s just not original.

Edge of Tomorrow is a video game made into a movie. Most action movies share connective tissue, but few really FEEL like a game. The last one like this was World War Z. That one with its jumping around to exotic locations and then fleeing from zombies was reminiscent of a Call of Duty game, just with zombies. Edge of Tomorrow is Contra. Let me be clear, it is not LIKE Contra, it IS Contra. Aliens invade, and it’s up to a pair of heroes to save the day. Unfortunately for our heroes, this game is hard as all hell. Luckily, the good guys have extra lives. When they die, the game restarts, but this time they’re a little bit wiser. They play it until they’ve memorized the patterns, then it’s a piece of cake. Granted that’s how all movies with this gimmick play out, but with the addition of alien invasions the movie makes the comparison without any help.

Story: half star

Like I said, it wasn’t terribly original. It’s still a cool concept and I love most movies that employ it. But concept isn’t the only place this movie sticks; it is utterly trope-tastic. The badass action chick, the crazy squad, the Sergeant who’s got a hard-on for war, the inevitable romance between our leads, it’s all been done to death. In spite of that, Edge of Tomorrow still has some strength in the writing. It uses the repeating concept to both humorous and serious effect. The dialogue is quite clever, and the charisma of the leads really brings out the best in it. BUT, I can’t wrap my head around the romance. I get why Cruise would fall in love, an eternity learning about her bit by bit, always putting his life in her hands. But why would she love him at all after not even 24 hours?

Acting: star

I was really on the fence about this one. I was ready to give it a half star based on the supporting cast, but after talking with a friend and fellow critic of mine, I’ve been persuaded it was worth full credit. The supporting cast and characters were cheesy and had little depth. Leading the charge for them is… Bill Paxton (stare and cut to shot of bill Paxton and back and forth). Good to see that Hudson finally got promoted I guess.

Emily Blunt is riding shotgun on this flick; to begin with she’s a very convincing rendition of the badass action chick. But as it goes on she opens up and becomes fairly ordinary. At first that annoyed me, but it grew on me as I kept thinking about it. Soldiers aren’t that hard all the way thru, they are capable of being as normal as the next guy. The performance is still excellent; Blunt very handily goes convincingly from the Full Metal Bitch to total vulnerability. She’s just an excellent actress, in movies that may be lackluster, she still manages to shine.

I’ve always been in Tom Cruise’s corner, sure he’s been in lousy movies, turned in lacking performances, and had an…interesting personal life. Regardless of all those faults, he’s never really had a time where he didn’t have great performances too. To offset Rock of Ages, Vanilla Sky, Oblivion, we’ve had Tropic Thunder, The Last Samurai, and Collateral.  This movie belongs in the latter. Like blunt, he runs a full range, starting at a total jackass moving on to hero. I’d like to add it’s so refreshing seeing him in an action movie where he does more than sprinting.

Visual: Star

It looked really good. The exo-suit was fairly similar to other designs from sci-fi, but that doesn’t stop it from working quite well. Hell, they thought through them enough to even get not one, but several jokes out of it. The aliens looked pretty sweet, almost instantly reminded me of the demon from Princess Mononoke. I really do wish we could’ve seen the drones better, how they fight, what they look like up close. This may sound similar to the complaints about Transformers, but it really isn’t. Transformers doesn’t even give the aliens the dignity of getting them in frame. The Mimics are really fast, so when they ARE framed (and are quite often) they are simply moving too much to get a good focused view. A fundamental difference.

Sound: Half star

…there was music, there was sound. Sounded like any other sci-fi action blockbuster. Not a thing in this department stood out. I’ve said no news is good news, but it needs to have something to offset. When nothing is noticeable I don’t have  a lot to go on.

Fun: Full star

It was clever, funny and hell, and the action was solid. Yes it’s full of clichés, but clichés exist because we love them, and they work here. I’m a total sucker for time travel shenanigans and I just ate it up here. I will be buying this movie and watching it again, it’s fun to see the little things they usually go for in these movies.

Total: 4 stars

In spite of all its flaws, mediocre supporting cast, slightly shaky visuals, and generic story structure… it totally worked. It all worked. The flaws fall into place in such a way that makes the whole even better. The whole world is a cliché, as a result, the mimics know what’s going to happen because it’s all been done before, not just in this movie, but in all the movies before it. The movie points out the tropes, uses them, and then seeks to climb over the obstacles just to make victory that much more epic. Edge of Tomorrow, I tip my hat to you.

At Face Value

SO i’ve moved up in the food chain, kinda. I’ve progressed to making video reviews entitled At Face Value. I’ve no fixed schedule at this point, and so far i’ve only reviewed movies in theaters. I suspect at some point i’ll go into more in-depth reviews of older movies. But since i work full time and only do this in my free time I’m slow at making them. I’ll link the videos to here and attach the blog to my vids.

Enjoy, AT FACE VALUE

Godzilla

X-Men: Days of Future Past

 

Another Year

…*shifty glance* yes I’m a horrible blogger; I admit that. I’m still working on going over to Vlogs and podcasts, but i’m sure you all know how well that’s going. So I finally have a job, been keeping busy, it’s been nice. After i stopped the blog again i stopped going to weekly movies. but I still saw some. (i’ll list those i’ve already done reviews on as well)

Django Unchained: ★★★★★ (yes it came out 2012, but i didn’t see it til 2013 so :P )

Warm Bodies: ★★★.5  Hoult was REALLY good as R, but the rest were ok. visuals and sound were nothing special. I thought it was very clever, a sympathetic zombie. didn’t see it til the summer on Netflix.

Side Effects: ★★★ Good story, but the rest of it was pretty forgettable. I prefer Contagion (its predecessor)

Spring Breakers: ★★★.5 It was quite an experience. The overall effect was numbing, but not just from boredom. It really was striving to reach an emotional deadness in tone and character. acting and story? eh. I appreciate how it worked, but i can’t really say I ENJOYED it.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone: Saw it on an airplane. An honest waste of talent. LAME, NEXT

Olympus has Fallen: ★★.5 it’s everything you’d expect, nothing special, but nothing really bad either. overall very unremarkable.

Iron Man 3: ★★★★.5  Marvel once again brought its A-game. acting wasn’t great, but everything else was really good. RDJ is really good, but i don’t feel like the performances were great, just what we’ve come to expect. Dialogue wasn’t quite as good as Avengers, but it’s made up for in character development and the big twist (which i really liked). Sound and visual were both really good.

The Great Gatsby: ★★★.5 It’s a very solid adaptation of the classic novel, but it really doesn’t do much with it. It feels like it just slapped it up on the screen with the Baz Luhrman visuals and not much else (it WAS very pretty). I’ve seen all the actors do better, they’re all good actors, but not doing much here. I was kinda bored with it by the end, ah well.

Star Trek: Into Darkness: ★★★ I was really annoyed at the story of this one. There is no new character development, and the ripping off of Wrath of Khan was WAAY over the top. The actors were solid, but no progress from what they did last time. Cumberbatch is solid as Khan, but his character was poorly written. Sound and Visuals were still really good…when i could see what the hell was going on (bloody shaky cams and Lens flare). the obscuring effects seemed to tone down in the second half of the movie (but the first half was almost criminal how little i could really see).

Much Ado About Nothing: ★★★★

Man of Steel: ★★★

This is the End: ★★★.5 I thought it was really funny and well written. Nothing special in visual or audio. I will say this: I REALLY dislike Jonah Hill, here was no exception, I wanted to punch him pretty much the entire movie.

World War Z: ★★★.5

White House Down: ★★★ I liked this one better than Olympus has Fallen. They were both mediocre on pretty much all counts, so why is this one better? White House Down recognized how silly the premise was and ran with it, it went for campy action, running with so many action tropes. and for me that’s good, i’d rather let a movie be silly than be hollow action beats.

Pacific Rim: ★★★★ (i’m gonna devote a whole review to this one)

Red 2: ★.5 I was truly disappointed by this one, but my parents loved it. I could not follow it at all, i had only half an idea of why things were happening. If i can get Inception and (kinda) get Donnie Darko on the first go, you REALLY screwed up if i can’t follow.

Sharknado: oh the movie was absolutely terrible. AND THAT’S WHAT MADE IT SO FUN! it’s a terribad movie (so bad it’s good) but I still can’t give it points for anything since it really did suck.

Don Jon: ★★★★ I quite liked it, tho i can’t vouch for the accuracy of their N.J. accents. It was fairly predictable, but presented in a way that made it feel more original. The visuals and audio were solid, but not remarkable. I guess it was just carried on pure charisma, and you know what? that’s not always a bad thing. that’s the reason I enjoy Brothers (2009)

Gravity: ★★★★.5 I tried very hard not to watch this movie, i held a grudge on it for ages, but EVERYONE i listen to in the film community was RAVING about it. so i caved and saw it (in 3D). and it was as good as everyone promised it would be. STUNNING use of CG. AMAZING utilization of music, but more importantly it used silence. I cannot stress how powerful silence is, and yet so few movies really use that to their advantage. Sandra Bullock was pretty good, but I was more impressed by George Clooney. I can’t say why, that spoils the joke. My one complaint is i probably would have ended the movie about 5 minutes earlier (just me). i hope the movie is still as good without insane surround and a bug screen.

Thor: The Dark World: ★★★: Honestly i think this is one of the weakest Marvel films in this continuity (if not the weakest) Poor pacing, not great writing. It was very pretty to look at, but beyond that i wasn’t impressed. HOWEVER. the mid-credit spoiler had me silently screaming with joy.

Catching Fire: ★★★★ SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE FIRST ONE!! good direction, better handling of the adaptation. Most of their cuts made sense (tho some of their additions made things too obvious for the uninitiated). The action scenes flowed so much better, if only there were more in the third act. Music…kinda sucked, I’m not a fan of James Newton Howard’s score, it’s not BAD, but it could be so much more. Acting was very good. Jennifer Lawrence has in the last year become my new celebrity crush (sorry Natalie, but you being a momma means i gotta move on, but i still love you).

Frozen: ★★★★.5 it looked so generic from its ads, but were they so wrong. It seems Disney is draining the life and power out of Pixar and funneling it into their own pictures. Story was original (for a Disney movie). the voice acting was very good, they’re all good singers, there’s something different…It was very pretty. Where it really shines tho is the songs. look up “Let It Go”, no seriously look it up now. my one problem was act 3, there was not a single song in the last third, it really felt weird considering how many songs were in the first third. I wish it had been longer, I wanted another song or two, and i really wanted to see more development of Elsa (the snow queen), but disney movies it seems can’t be more than 100 minutes anymore (stares sadly at Mary Poppins). I’d like to add this: the opening cartoon “Get a Horse” was one of the most infuriating things i’ve ever seen. It totally insulted the magic of Mickey, turning him into something shallow and mean. Most critics love it, but i REALLY REALLY REALLY hated it. It actually ruined the first few minutes of Frozen i was seething so bad. (thank god frozen cooled my temper with its awesome music).

Favorite movie i saw? Pacific Rim. Loved it :D BEST movie i saw this year (not counting Django) i’d probably say Gravity.

Movies i still want to see from the year: Oz the Great and Powerful, Evil Dead (to compare), Trance (i hear it’s quite good), Now you see me, Lone Ranger ( i gotta see the trainwreck myself to believe it, but i totally called how much it was gonna bomb), the way way back, Wolverine, The Spectacular Now, Elysium, Kick-Ass 2 (…kinda), The World’s End, Rush, 12 years a Slave, All is Lost, Blue is the warmest Color, Mr Nobody, The Wind Rises, American Hustle, Saving Mr Banks, Wolf of Wallstreet, August: Osage County

Much Ado About Something

I love Joss Whedon. He makes so much awesome stuff, Firefly, Buffy, Dr Horrible, THE AVENGERS. What’s it about his movies and shows that are so amazing (to me)? for me it’s his characters and actors. He seems to bring the best out of all his actors, especially with incredible characters with some of the most clever dialogue known to man. This is why i rushed to see Much Ado About Nothing. Whedon and Shakespeare? I’m sold.

STORY: One Star ★: It’s Sheakespeare word for word (slightly abridged). You have to be stark raving mad to give that man less than full marks. So I’ll talk about the story behind the movie. From what i’ve read, Whedon would have his actor friends over to his house on a semi-regular basis and they’d read Shakespeare together. There was about two weeks between shooting and editing The Avengers, he decided to use that time to gather his actor friends and shoot this movie. I was a tad worried it’s be a little silly and over the top (like Ocean’s 12). It turned out quite well :D

Acting: One Star ★: Like i said, Whedon picks great actors. One thing. DO NOT go in looking for something EVEN CLOSE to a Kenneth Branagh production of Shakespeare. Those are very bombastic, actors chewing the scenery. The actors are much more smooth in this production. The chemistry between Benedick and Beatrice is still quite solid, the actors don’t have to be married to work well off each other. Sean Maher as Don John is kinda bland, but he’s still more interesting than Keanu Reeves :) . Nathan Fillion, My hetero man crush, is great as Dogberry, and that’s not just me saying it as a fanboy. My viewing group all loved his performance.

Sound: Half Star: Nothing special, but not bad. I like Joss Whedon’s simplistic score, it’s a lot like the stuff i wrote in school. He also had some interesting…adaptations of the Shakespeare songs, made em sound modern :D .

Visual: Half Star: Sure it was black and white, but nothing really sticks out. it was simple, effective, but simple and effective doesn’t impress me to a full star. I loved the look of the location and costumes (shot at Whedon’s house).

Enjoyability: 1 Star ★: It had a lot of very funny moments. And as I said before I really like both Whedon and Shakespeare, so that kind of material appeals to me naturally. *Shrug* not much more to say on my behalf. I think you’ll enjoy it if you like witty dialogue and good acting, this movie is FULL of it, but of course you have to be ok with dated vocabulary and style. That is one thing i liked about it as well. The actors spoke very clearly, it’s a common problem in Shakespeare that they get so into the line you can’t hear what they’re actually saying.

Mr. Whedon, I invite you to produce more Shakespeare movies. Of course first you need to get the Avengers 2, Dr Horrible 2, and Rebooting Firefly (I can dream) off of your plate. SO, movie was quite good ★★★★, I’d recommend it, but I know it’ll not be for everyone. Reviews coming up: White House Down (very silly) and because I’m watching it right now: Inception

 

 

World War Z: A Decent Movie, Not a Great Adaptation

Title says it all. So many people have instantly brushed this movie under the rug. They say “IT’S NOT LIKE THE BOOK, so i refuse to see it.” It’s a legitimate concern, and unfortunately the movie suffers for it. You see, it’s not a bad movie, and from what i hear, it could have been a lot worse. I admit i don’t know details, but with 5 different production companies (each with their own title slide) it could not have been smooth sailing.
I gotta apologize for the tardiness of the review, so i’ll be honest. It was a first date with my new and totally awesome GF, spending time with her and working have made me lazy again. REVIEW YOU FOOL! REVIEW!

Recall my new rating system 5 stars, one for each of: Story/characters, Sound/music, Visual/Camera/editing, Acting, Enjoyability/rewatchability

Story: NO STARS. The story was extremely lacking. It was simple, Zombies take over the world and one dude has to save it. It’s funny, this movie felt more like a video game than any I’ve seen. Brad Pitt goes to an exotic location, learns some plot, and then escapes in an action sequence to the next exotic location. Rinse and repeat several times. I found that actually kinda humorous. the scenes played out like levels, including what kinda of variety was made (military base, city, hospital, alone in the woods). The characters were awful. They were totally uninteresting and had no defining characteristics, I didn’t even know the protagonists name til about 30 minutes into the movie. Pacing was also interesting too, no wasted time, the zombie attack starts about 5 minutes into the movie (once again adding to the lack of character and plot).

Sound: 1 Star ★. The score was solid, fit nicely, tho not entirely memorable. This movie did a great job fully utilizing surround sound. Early on there was a woman screaming, it came so totally from one speaker, i thought the girl behind me was actually screaming (there was noone behind me). It also used silence quite well. There is great atmospheric power in silence (especially when sound attracts zombies). I remember needing to sneeze but holding it as long as possible, because i thought breaking the silence that abruptly might make people around me jump in their seats.

Visual: 1/2 Star. The CG effects were…ok, the camera was…ok. IDK, nothing really sticks out, good or bad. It was nice to see the zombies not moving like a tide as they;re depicted in the trailers. with some lead in shots, they’re seen not moving as ants, but as a mass so desperate to get you that they relentlessly move thru and over anything, including each other. they used shaky cam of course, but to better effect than Man of Steel. the problem lies in the editing, very fast cuts. that worked in favor of a couple of great jump moments, but the rest seemed unnecessary. It’s as Brad Jones put it (i can cite other reviews), It’s as if the movie was edited for cable TV. It’s PG-13 so they tone down the violence by very obviously cutting around it. I’ll get into the movie’s rating in a bit.

Acting: 1/2 Star. Brad Pitt was solid as the lead, but he’s just a charismatic guy. He didn’t bring too much, but that really lies with the script, not much meat to bring anything to. Other performances were ok, the Israeli soldier that accompanies Pitt in the last act was pretty good.

Enjoyability: 1 Star ★. Me and my date quite enjoyed it. good atmosphere, good tone. A solid zombie movie. don’t know if i’d rush to see it again, but it’s wasn’t that bad.
The movie suffers hard tho because of the tie-in to a very different book. THIS IS NOT THE MOVIE’S FAULT. and yet people give me crap for liking it despite the major differences. All this says is the movie execs were fools. Market it just as a zombie movie, maybe even cite world war Z as inspiration, but once you try to make a movie out of a book, you’re in much more dangerous water. Adaptation is insanely tricky. too close your flaws get glaring, too far and the readers hate you. You have to strike a balance somewhere. I’m still not sure exactly what makes an adaptation successful, I’ve written papers about it. Shoulda had a different name, probably would have been received better that way.

The Rating Problem: This movie should not be PG-13. Sure Zombie movies tend to be violent and this movie cut around that a lot, but that’s not my problem. PG-13 carries no weight any more. Parents are taking 6 year-olds (maybe even younger) to movies like this. 6 is WAY too young for a zombie movie, it’s really intense and scary. i know, it’s not the ratings, it’s the parents, but you gotta admit that there’s something wrong with it.

ANYWAYS. I enjoyed it, if you were interested, yeah go see it, on the fence, i’d give it a try. BUT I’d sooner tell you to go see Much Ado About Nothing (review coming soon). IN SHORT: not bad. ★★★

Rating System

I know i promised a review of World War Z. I will get to that, today was car shopping and i didn’t that night because i was on a date.

It occurs to me that I don’t have a standard rating system across all movies, i give numbers just on how i’m feeling. i can say 7/10 or 3.5 stars, but what does that mean?

SO i’ve decided i will work on a star rating system AS FOLLOWS:
Each star is its own category, if it’s good or better = 1 star. Eh = .5. Bad = no star in that category.
CATEGORIES: Story (character development too), Acting, Sound (music included), Visual, Was it enjoyable (to me and perhaps anyone i saw it with). The last could also be rated on rewatchability, it’s flexible

here’s that rating system applied to the movies i’ve reviewed:

  • Last Samurai: ★★★★★
  • Sunshine: ★★★★1/2 (story is flawed, but i still love it)
  • Princess Mononoke: ★★★★1/2 (again flawed but love it)
  • Transformers 1: ★★★ (half stars in both acting and visual, no star in story)
    • Transformers 2: ★ (half visual, half audio)
    • Transformers 3: ★★(no story nor acting stars)
  • Hunger Games: ★★★1/2 (story and visual effects were weak, kinda enjoyable)
  • Amazing Spiderman: ★★1/2 (entirely Eh)
  • Premium Rush: ★★★★1/2 (they’re all good except story which wasn’t bad)
  • Django Unchained: ★★★★★
  • Phantom of the Opera: ★★★1/2 (story and acting were weak)
  • Man of Steel: ★★★ (good visuals, audio mostly enjoyable and fair acting, but NO story)
  • World War Z: ★★★1/2 (fantastic sound and action, not great effects acting or story)

it’s funny, on just an opinion system some i would have rated higher, like sunshine or mononoke, or some lower like premium rush which i wouldn’t give more than a 4. Guess the new system is keeping me in line and standard. I can live with that.

World War Z to come. I will be seeing Much Ado about Nothing this Monday, i will review that too.

Man of Steel indeed

Wow…I was quite surprised by this movie, especially after all the trailers and reviews i’ve seen. I do wish advertisers wouldn’t show THE ENTIRE MOVIE in trailers, there were some surprises, but so few. Pretty much the entire first act of the movie can be seen in trailers, c’mon people. ANYWAYS: in short 6.5/10 Not Bad. Watch it for the Kyptonians, they were AWESOME. the humans…not so much.

I’m breaking away from my typical review mode and just grouping thoughts. GENERAL: it’s funny, i couldn’t help but draw several parallels between this movie and transformers. The opening is very similar, coup to take control and “save” the homeworld. Also the big bad is very similar. Zod is no longer the power-hungry despot “KNEEL BEFORE ZOD” type. Now he is Megatron, seriously. An amoral military leader that will stop and nothing and sacrifice anything to rebuild his race. And it really works in this movie, it really does.

Where it went right:

  • Visual effects: OH LORD it was pretty (Zach Snyder movies have always done that well, but sadly at the expense of the rest of the movie most of the time). They really built a full Krypton and it was cool. So what if it borrows heavily from H.R. Geiger designs, Avatar and other things. So what that they’ve got Jor-El riding a dragon? I still think it was pretty cool. Explosions, alien ships, the fight CG (get to that later) all good things.
  • Action: (now is later) This movie had some of the best superhero action I’ve seen in ages. It’s right up there with The Avengers, ESPECIALLY in taking full advantage of the powers at their disposal. Lots of laser vision, cool bursts of speed, throwing trains, wanton destruction (half of Metropolis is essentially leveled in the finale :D ) it was stunning good action.
  • The Kryptonians and their tech: This is where the movie REALLY hit its high notes. Their armor looks totally sick (the supersuit is ok, I’m talking the armor on top of that) same goes for their architecture, A lot of it is based on…i don’t know, some kind of particle based A.I. It looks really cool. The people of Krypton we see are mostly simple, but it works, they’re just cold and hard.
  • Kal-El and Zod: Henry Cavill is solid as Superman, does a fine job. Michael Shannon as Zod was just epic, he really stole the movie.

Where it went wrong:

  • Camera: Whenever there weren’t a lot of effects dominating the shot, the camera resorted to the standard and really annoying shakycam. It really makes it hard to focus and is REALLY pointless when it’s just people talking.
  • Pacing: There’s a bit in the middle where superman turns himself in, next scene he’s in a cell talking to Lois, then he’s immediately back in the desert being handed over to Zod’s men. The movie is full of moments like this that just don’t flow, but they lessen as the movie goes on. It’s funny I never realized how much I value a good intro for a superhero. Superman is introduced to the world BY ZOD (we’ve seen him a bit before) first time anyone sees him is when he turns himself in. Zod had a great re-entry into the middle of the film with the You Are Not Alone speech, really had solid tone.
  • the human characters: they totally lacked any relatability, they had no stories and I found myself not caring about them. At least the Kryptonians had badass action to accent their simple characters. They all feel like they’re there just to be there, so we have recurring faces. worst offender is:
  • LOIS LANE: (please note that Amy Adams’ performance was just fine) Her character makes NO sense, she’s WAAY too important. She’s there thru the entire story, she knows Clark’s identity before he’s even Superman. her romance is very arbitrary and totally without chemistry. Plus her presence is just weird, Military arrest her, yet they drag her out when superman turns himself in. When Superman is taken by Zod, they demand to take Lois too…WHY? they don’t know her, they never do anything to her, all it does is get her on the ship to be helpful. They also try to make her into an action woman for a bit, Iron man 3 did that much better. I just don’t get it :/ ah well
  • (EDIT) Emotion weight: So I’ve looked thru other reviews, and they really made a good point. The movie TOTALLY lacks emotional weight, it never conveys the feeling that millions are being obliterated in the destruction of metropolis (which is beyond extensive). Avengers (it’s my go-to super hero comparison)  certainly made it clear how much was at stake and that the destruction at least had some consequences, at least we saw civilians during the fights. Once a fight starts in Man of Steel, the fighters are pretty much alone. So many elements are just…there.

Though it may not be a great movie, I still enjoyed it (seems I’m a minority there). go see it for its action. If you go for story and character depth, you’re probably gonna leave with a bad taste in your mouth. D.C. is still fighting a losing battle, trying to keep up with Marvel after they’ve already hit it out of the park. If The Avengers, showed us anything, it’s that a superhero movie can be well written, funny, have great action, great story, and just be well made ALL IN ONE MOVIE.  All you other guys need to catch up now that we know its possible.

That’s all i got, See you next week for WORLD WAR Z  or Joss Whedon’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, maybe both, we’ll see :D .

Once More with feeling…

I’m a bad blogger, i keep getting discouraged/busy and leave it.

UPDATES THEN: I’ve now graduated from University of Tulsa. I was SO glad to get back from New Zealand. Tho an educating experience with some bright moments, overall it was a very bad trip.

The Future of the blog: So now i’m trying to go semi-pro on this stuff. As such i’ve dedicated time each week to go see a new movie and then review it. This should work better since I’d have to conjure up ideas before, now every week it’s already there. ALSO I’m planing on transforming this stuff into Vlogs. I’m gonna start by just recording me talking about the movie after it’s over (a la Brad Jones Midnight reviews). I’m also working on producing short films for sites, hopefully that will lead to money in my pocket, experience under my belt, and a stepping stone to make better reviews.

So first off: MAN OF STEEL

CALLED IT

CALLED IT

Watch the link before the post, please?

THE OSCARS: Gotta say I predicted about 90% of them, then again, they’re not that hard. I was surprised by Cristophe Waltz (but not disappointed). I really though Tommy Lee Jones had it in the bag. The ones that DID upset me was the ever popular snub of Ben Affleck for director (c’mon even MacFarlane pointed it out). the other was Skyfall not winning cinematography. I’m sure Life of Pi was gorgeous (didn’t see it), but MY GOD was Skyfall GREAT for its cinematography :P . The rest I may not agree with, but I do understand them all, which I can’t say for every year.

I wish i could’ve WATCHED it, but I didn’t have access, but i could follow teh awards and saw a post on the key jokes of the show. I REALLY want to see a video of the Les Mis cast singing one day more, LOVE that song. I’ve not seen it, but from some of the jokes, I liked MacFarlane, he was a bit coarse as you’d expect, but I like that. THERE obligatory Oscars commentary. :)

Never Met a Stranger

My momma always said: “Wherever you went, you never met a stranger” (there, got the Forrest Gump reference out of my head and potentially yours). She was absolutely right in this statement, I often strike up conversations with random people I meet, no matter where I am. I love to have someone to talk to, some of my friends I’m sure would claim I like having someone to talk AT, but i assure you that is not the case. (talking a lot doesn’t mean i don’t want return talking as well).My favorite example of this trait in me: When I was I think 9, I met a boy on the beach of a small Florida town, about 2 years later, I met him again. We both had relatives in the town (it’s heavily older retired folks) but I met a random kid, and years later we ran into each other again AND recognized each other. ANYWAYS, this article is to those strangers I have met here in NZ, and the fun I had with them. I admit, I don’t remember most of their names, comes from chatting for less than an hour and not being strong with names.

First is the one I saw on a semi-regular basis, so I guess she doesn’t count, but it’s my blog so I’ll talk about her: Teresa. Teresa is another intern in the Globalinks program in Wellington. However, her program is very different than mine. First off: she arrived in the country 2 weeks before the rest of us and didn’t have an orientation weekend. I really don’t envy her for that, but there is a method to her madness. This past week, she left for Australia to do a term in a University there, so she had to arrive early to get in 6 weeks before school picked back up. Ok, enough stalker-ish info.  I don’t know if the two of us would have ordinarily been friends, but that’s part of making friends with strangers. More importantly, we were both Americans. It’s just really nice to being able to quickly relate on background, current situation, etc. So we hung out from time to time, grabbing meals, went to the zoo, little things. Teresa was sadly my only consistent friend thus far, guess I need to promote one of my acquaintances. Have fun in Australia, the land where everything can kill you!

Next “friends” of note are Katja and Steffi, from Cologne, Germany. I only met them this past weekend on a bus ride north to Whangarei. I admit, I’m surprised that my ice-breaker actually gave them reason to chat with me, I recognized that they were conversing in German, and said so (clever, right?). The three of us chatted on the 2-3 hours on the bus to our stop. Conveniently they were staying at the same hostel as me that night, so I continued to hang out with them for the remainder of the day. They are quite lovely, and I enjoyed their company. We didn’t have a terrible amount of common ground, so much of our conversations was back story and talking about New Zealand. Their English was impressive, they could keep up with me even at my ridiculous speaking pace :P . Steffi said she enjoyed the practice/challenge and appreciated that I didn’t overly simplify my vocabulary for them (slightly degrading I’d imagine). I gotta say, Europeans amaze me with their knowledge of the English language, it’s really easy to forget that they don’t speak it normally, though with Steffi and Katja it was easier to remember because they still spoke to each other in German. Trip is just starting for you two, so I hope it continues to be amazing!

NEXT! ACTORS! I only did one week of work on the set with Martin Square, but in that time i was able to make friends with a few of the actors, Ben and Charley. Charley is one of the MANY street performers in Wellington, his weapon of choice is beatboxing, particularly dubstep. Ben, not sure what he does, but he too loves making movies. He even tried to get my most recent script off me to get it made with him and his friends in Auckland. I politely declined, I want to shoot “Stuffed Giraffe” myself. I fear I’m becoming one of those guys who doesn’t want to trust another director with his scripts. I connected with them both (separately) mostly over a mutual love of movies. That seems to be my standard way to bond these days, group ranting about movies. It’s so easy for me, and SO many people love movies that it’s often a good choice. I say that, but then I instantly think how it’s kinda funny that all my friends at TU really AREN’T movie people (Joey and Lydia, my movie pals, aren’t AT TU at this point). Boys! keep making awesome movies!

In the same vein, but different location, is Chris. I met Chris while killing time in Martinborough (small wine town) while waiting for my bus. Chris is from England, I feel like I’ve met a lot of transplanted Brits here. He’s in acting school, talking with him was so simple, able to (once again) ramble on about movies. However, there was a nice change of pace: not only did he ramble back, but with the same amount of passion for the art, not just the entertainment. He recommended I watch Human Traffic, a British movie I’ve never heard of, but I trust his taste enough to give it a try. See you at the Oscars sir!

Now i get into the short mentions of those that didn’t stick quite as thoroughly in my mind. My two friends from my Poor Knights Island dives (I can’t believe i can’t remember their names since it was only yesterday since I last saw them). One (a lady) is from San Diego, but has lived in this part of the world for about 18 months. The other (a guy) is from Denmark, he said that he’s soon going to Asia. Once again we chatted about movies and background, and of course: diving. Next is the couple i met in a Japanese restaurant  on Valentine’s Day, we talked mostly about the sights in both NZ and the US. I hope i didn’t spoil their dinner together, but they insisted it was a pleasure to chat. Last one that sticks out in my mind are Zach and Sami (sorry about spelling). I also met them on Valentine’s Day, but instead this was when i was returning to my flat. We chatted for about 5 minutes, starting with me pointing out how his shoe was untied at a crosswalk. Once again, film was my ally, they are Journalism students, avid film people too.

The nice thing about meeting strangers is I can have the same conversation topics with little trouble. Telling stories and talking about movies are the easiest topics for me, for them to always be fresh conversation is great. In NZ it’s even easier, everyone starts by asking where I’m from and what do I do back in the states. It’s great to have a pal to just pass the time with. Don’t be afraid to say hi to people on the street, how bad can it be if they don’t want to talk? With that I’m off. Hasta Luego!