Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sandy Hook Thoughts

I promise to return to movie blogging soon. I have gotten quite lazy. Sorry

I've slept on it. I read most people preliminary facebook thoughts last night. Here goes: There seems to be only two solutions presented to the problem of school shootings:
1. Gun Control - If the young man did not have easy access to four weapons designed to kill other human beings (i.e. not for hunting), he would not have been capable of pulling off his horrific deed (at least not to the same extent).
2. More guns in schools - If there had been a greater police presence already in the school or if the principal/teacher/etc. had been armed, then he would not have been capable of pulling off his horrific deed (at least not to the same extent).

I propose that there is a third solution: End the cultural idea that murdering another human being is an appropriate solution to a problem. How can we teach our children that killing their enemies is wrong when we passively support capital punishment and actively support our country's endless taste for war? In the past 10 years, our country has gone to war for revenge, retribution, and nation-building. How can we not expect or young people to follow our example and use the same strategy (killing others) to solve their problems? It simply is not logical that we can be so sad as a nation because 20 children died in Connecticut, but harbor no sympathy for the more than 1200 children killed by coalition forces in the Iraq war. It simply is not logical that our country's harshest domestic punishment is death, but it's citizens should not use it to solve their own problems.

As long as we have a society where murdering another human is acceptable to solve a problem, we have only ourselves to blame for the mentally unstable who are willing to take that same logic to the extreme.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My current movie watch list...

Movies I currently have and need to watch.  :(  Not enough hours in the day.  Feel free to let me know if there are any I need to bump to the top of the list or avoid completely.

Albert Nobbs
All About Eve
All the King's Men (1949)
All the King's Men (2006)
Another Year
Before Night Falls
Brand New Day
The Castle of Cagliostro
Chilsom '72
A Chorus Line
The Dead Girl
The Future
The Gay Divorcee
Guys and Dolls
The Hudsucker Proxy
In Cold Blood
Cowboys and Aliens
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
The Insider
The Interrupters
Into the Abyss
The Iron Lady
Joyful Noise
Justice League: Doom
The Lincoln Lawyer
The Little Shop of Horrors
Martha MarcyMay Marlene
Me and Orson Welles
Paradise Lost
Paranormal Activity 2
Red Beard
The Skin I Live In
The Sitter
Source Code
The Swell Season
Tales from Earthsea
Thunder Soul
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
X-Men: First Class
Young @ Heart

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Secret World of Arrietty (2011) 5/5


My heart is stronger! Now that you're in it.

 Everyone likes to blame video games, movies, television, and other pop culture for the downfall of western civilization. Everything from obesity to low scores in science and math are attributed to what kids are doing while sitting in front of screens. It's too bad that no one really wants to do anything about it. Thanks to Hayao Miyazaki and his contemporaries that formed Studio Ghibli, for the past thirty years Japanese children have been treated to entertainment that respects them as much as adults. Is it no coincidence that over the same time Japanese young people have consistently pulled away from the rest of the world in test scores? While Pixar has made great strides at closing this gap over the past decade, American children are still getting their mindless helpings of Spongebob, Yo Gabba Gabba, and Transformers. Don't get me wrong, I love children's fare as much as the next guy, but there is simply something about the magic of the Studio Ghibli films that maintain innocence for children and maturity of content.

 This film very loosely adapts the 1952 novel, "The Borrowers". It feels quite a bit like Miyazaki's earlier work "My Neighbor Totoro" and is probably the studio most accessible work ever. It tells a very simple story in an absolutely beautiful way. What more do you want from a film?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) 4/5


Morals are a choice, and he'll decide his own when he's good and bloody well ready. 

I'm not really sure why it took me so long to see this one, but I sure I am glad I finally did. The guy from Memento and Agent Smith from "The Matrix" are drag queens who recruit Senator Valorum from "The Phantom Menace" (who just happens to be a transvestite) to travel across Australia in a giant RV nicknamed "Priscilla". If that sentence doesn't get you fired up, then I don't know what will (or maybe you're just not me...). What was absolutely beautiful about this film is that it doesn't play the "drag" for jokes like "To Wong Foo" or "Some Like it Hot". Don't get me wrong, the movie is quite hilarious, but not at the expense of its subjects. It humanizes the three men in a way that wouldn't be possible without transporting the viewer on the trip every step of the way; good times and bad, emotional times and scary.

 In a time where 1.3 million people can cast a vote condemning a group of people based upon their sexual preference, it's pretty cool to check out an 18-year-old film from the other side of the world that is, sadly, still quite a bit ahead of its time here in our home state.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Shame (2011) 3/5


We're not bad people. We just come from a bad place.

 Human sexuality is extremely fragile. So much so that it is rare to find adults (especially in the United States) that don't have some form of sexual hangup. This could be due to bad experiences in the past, unhealthy relationships, or just plain old ignorance. This film deals with the shame that coincides with sexual addiction (which, when it comes down to it, just about every male, and many females, have experienced on some level). Michael Fassbender was absolutely amazing as the movie's tortured subject, and the prodding direction provides a haunting and personal connection as he falls deeper into his pit of despair.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

3 (2011) 4/5


Farewell to a deterministic understanding of biology.

A simple boy meets girl, girl meets different boy, boy meets same different boy story directed by the absolutely masterful Tom Tykwer. Just in case you didn't follow that synopsis, this is about a loving couple who both begin affairs with the same man unbeknownst to everyone involved. It is a love story that challenges your views about what healthy relationships, sexuality, and love. The film is in German (as are Tykwer's other masterpieces "Run Lola Run" and "The Princess and the Warrior"), but this is what is great about foreign film (and why you shouldn't limit them from your movie choices). A movie like this could NEVER get greenlit by an American production company. A word of warning though, just as the movie is very free with its definitions of human biological relationships, it is also free with its depictions of such. You should probably be pretty open minded before trying this one out.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Young Adult (2011) 3/5


Guys like me are born loving women like you. 

Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air. I guess it was a little too much to expect that streak to continue. All of the same ingredients were there for a solid Jason Reitman movie, even a Diablo Cody screenplay (writer of Juno), except for one - a likable protagonist. It is nearly impossible to conjure up much sympathy for Charlize Theron's prom queen-turned-depressive divorcee writer. Patton Oswalt nearly pulls off this feat with his down-on-his-luck geek who befriends the young lady, but even his outstanding performance left at best a character who could blame her horrible actions on mental illness.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ralph McQuarrie 1929-2012


George Lucas may have had the vision, John Williams may have moved you to emotion, but Ralph McQuarrie made it real. From lightsabers, to Han Solo, to Darth Vader, to Wookies, it all started with this man's brushstroke. Gone, but never, ever forgotten.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

2012 Oscar Ballot!

A little disappointed with the movies I missed this year; especially "Hugo", which just happens to come out on dvd in 2 days. Still, I saw most of the movies (except for that pesky Best Actress category) so here is my oscar ballot ranked from best to worst including only the movies I have seen. I'm also including my prediction, and who I felt should have been nominated. Here goes:

Best Picture
"The Tree of Life"
"The Help"
"War Horse"
"The Descendants"
"Midnight in Paris"
"The Artist"
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"

Prediction: The Artist
Shoulda been here: Beginners

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, "A Better Life"
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"
George Clooney, "The Descendants"
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"

Prediction: Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
Shoulda been here: Rhys Ifans, "Anonymous"

Best Actress
Viola Davis, "The Help"

Prediction: Viola Davis, "The Help"
Shoulda been here: Mia Wasikowska, "Jane Eyre"

Best Supporting Actor
Nick Nolte, "Warrior"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Jonah Hill, "Moneyball"
Max Von Sydow, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"

Prediction: Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Shoulda been here: Andy Serkis, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"

Best Supporting Actress
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"
Berenice Bejo, "The Artist"
Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids"

Prediction: Octavia Spencer, "The Help"
Shoulda been here: Jessica Chastain, "The Tree of Life"

Best Director
Terrence Malick, "The Tree of Life"
Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"

Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Shoulda been here: Steven Spielberg, "War Horse"

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
JC Chandor, "Margin Call"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, "Bridesmaids"

Prediction: Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
Shoulda been here: Mike Mills, "Beginners"

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, "The Descendants"
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, "Moneyball"
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, "The Ides of March"

Prediction: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, "The Descendants"

Best Animated Feature
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"Puss in Boots"

Prediction: Rango
Shoulda been here: Rio

Original Score
"The Adventures of Tintin," John Williams
"The Artist," Ludovic Bource
"War Horse," John Williams

Prediction: "The Artist", Ludovic Bource
Shoulda been here: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Best Original Song
"Man or Muppet," The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
"Real in Rio," Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Prediction: Man or Muppet
Shoulda been here: Life's a Happy Song, The Muppets

Best Achievement in Art Direction
"Midnight in Paris"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"War Horse"
"The Artist"

Prediction: Hugo
Shoulda been here: Bellflower

Best Achievement in Cinematography
"The Tree of Life"
"War Horse"
"The Artist"

Prediction: The Tree of Life
Shoulda been here: Bellflower

Best Achievement in Costume Design
"Jane Eyre"
"The Artist"

Prediction: Hugo
Shoulda been here: Drive

Best Achievement in Film Editing
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"

Prediction: The Artist
Shoulda been here: Midnight in Paris

Best Achievement in Makeup
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"

Prediction: The Iron Lady
Shoulda been here: Warrior

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
"War Horse"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"

Prediction: Hugo
Shoulda been here: The Tree of Life

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

"War Horse"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"

Prediction: Hugo
Shoulda been here: The Tree of Life

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
"Real Steel"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"

Prediction: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Shoulda been here: The Tree of Life

So another year down. For the first time since 1984 the Best Picture winner will have also won the same award at the Independent Spirit Awards. Too bad its the worst Spirit winner in the history of the award... Don't get me wrong it is not a bad movie, it's just not a great movie...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2011 Top Ten

Ugh. It took until March 21st to finally have seen enough 2011 movies to feel confident in my top 10 for the year. I've linked to my blog entry if I already talked about a film. For the record, I have seen 59 movies released during 2011. 10 presented here, 21 that probably were pretty close to making this list, 22 good, solid films, 3 pretty bad films, and 3 abysmally awful excuses for film making. Here they are the best films of last year.

10. Bellflower
Check my my blog entry:

9. 50/50
Heartbreaking and hilariously honest look at love, loss, and love all the while battling against the impervious immortality that one feels when they are in their 20s. Also, Seth Rogen should've gotten some supporting actor mentions for this movie. He pulls off a role that is a very delicate balance between annoying and adorable.

8. Take Shelter
A harrowing look at mental illness and the love that can hold any family together.

7. Jane Eyre
I blame Charlotte Bronte for this one. I never new her story was so freakin' awesome until I saw this adaptation. You couldn't come up with a better title Ms. Bronte? Really? Jane Eyre... so bland. If it had been named "The Passionate Feminista", I would have checked it out long ago.

6. Warrior
Blog entry here

5. Beginners
Ewan McGregor's bad luck in love is only made worse by his father's good luck in his new found freedom of living as a gay man, finding a young boyfriend, and laughing death in the face. It doesn't hurt that his father is played by Christopher Plummer in the role of his career.

4. War Horse
Most underrated movie of the year, and Spielberg's best since in the past decade. Check out my review here.

3. Crazy Stupid Love
Ryan Gosling owned this year. Award-worthy performances in this, "Drive", and "The Ides of March". He certainly has completely shed his "the guy from the Notebook" persona. Read all about it here

2. The Help
The Artist may have won all of the awards, but this is what most people will remember as the best film from 2011. A moving story that actually is able to transcend its own content is quite rare. This isn't a movie about journalism, race relations, housekeeping, or even love. This is a movie about how you treat your fellow man in all aspects of life.

1. The Tree of Life
Do you like poetry? Do you like beautiful moving images? Do you desire to tackle the biggest question in the history of mankind? Are you ready to completely give in to the best movie about faith of all time? If so, you should give it a spin. If not, it's okay, Malick's masterpiece will be there when you're ready for it. Read about my first take on it here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) 1/5


You have made a grave mistake...

Offensively bad. That's the best way I can describe this movie. Offensive to Transformers, offensive to action movies, offensive to screenwriters, offensive to robots, offensive to NASA, and (MOST OF ALL!) offensive to viewers valuable time. The first Transformers movie was a fun romp that pretty well captured what it would be like if little boys' play fantasies were given a hundred-million-dollar budget. Revenge of the Fallen was a bad film that completely went off the rails of believability and included the horrible atrocities of a magical transporting Air and Space Museum and metal robot testicles. Still, this movie never took itself too seriously. Dark of the Moon seems like an attempt to make the movies epic while at the same time holding on to the silliness of its predecessors. This makes for a horrible, horrible movie. Sure, the action in the last 45 minutes is pretty impressive, but it in no was excuses the waste of ninety minutes it took to get there. Plain and simple, this movie is an offensive affront to anyone who likes good movies or even those that can muster up the courage to enjoy bad ones.

Project Nim (2011) 3/5


Play, me, Nim.

This is a beautiful portrait of the life of Nim, a chimpanzee who was raised as a human, taught to sign, then abandoned when funds ran out. The movie skimps a little on editorializing, but this allows the viewer to develop a unique view on the sad story of Nim.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bill Cunningham, New York (2011) 4/5


Those who seek beauty, WILL find it!

This is why I love documentaries. If a fictional movie was released about an eighty-year-old man who lives in Carnegie Hall, works as a fashion photographer for the New York Times, spends every waking moment riding his bike around New York snapping photos of interesting fashion, and has never had a romantic relationship, most people would view the film as laughably unrealistic. It is rare that a single person can carry an entire documentary, but Mr. Cunningham is a magically interesting individual. The filmmakers treat him with great respect and kid gloves as they follow him throughout his day pausing for only a couple of questions at a time. Only once the viewer has garnered an interest an connection with the subject are the emotional and moving questions broached. This emotional climax provides a beautiful payoff for the film that broadens its appeal beyond the documentophile such as myself.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Descendants (2011) 4/5


Goodbye, Elizabeth. Goodbye, my love, my friend, my pain, my joy. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

Tonight thousands of couples are going to share a movie for Valentine's Day. Most of them are probably going to fall into the trap of "The Vow" (a formulaic Nick Sparks knockoff, at best). Even more unfortunate souls are going to trudge through the sickness that is "Breaking Dawn: Part 1" only to get the sleepy first half of a story that is criminal in its medieval treatment of love and feminism. I urge you to make this your Valentine's Day pick, and, if you read this too late, you should at least use it as a rinse to get all the average Hollywood schlock out of your head.

The Descendants is a beautiful story of loss and rebirth. It may be hard to sympathize with a main character who is independently wealthy and making a tough decision on how best to make even more money, but the rich are not immune to matters of the heart. George Clooney is pitch perfect as a soon-to-be widower who's decisions about end-of-life care for his wife and windfall real-estate holdings are overshadowed as he develops true relationships with his two daughters for the first time in their lives. While it may not be your run of the mill Valentine's treat, it will make you love those who are close to you all the more. When it comes down to it, is there anything better than that on Valentine's?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Warrior (2011) 4/5


I'll tell you what: you do that to someone on the street and they'd lock you up and throw away the key! Break out the yellow tape, Sam. Tommy's walking away from the cage like he's leaving a crime scene.

Much like "The Fighter" last year, this movie deals with the trials and tribulations of fighting brothers (both in and out of the ring). The biggest difference is that these brothers have traded in the poofy gloves of the sweet science for the knuckle pads of MMA. Also, much like "The Fighter", the acting performance of the family patriarch steals the show. Instead of an overbearing mother, this time it's Nick Nolte's recovering alcoholic widower who trains his son. The dynamic between the brothers is enough of a change to not cry "rip off" though. This story is much more of a formulaic Davids vs. Goliaths tale, but that is okay. What is does it does with flair and sincere emotion. The one critique I have is that the two Pittsburgh natives are played by an Australian and a Brit. Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy may have the physical look, but their accents broke quite a few times during the movie.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Better Life (2011) 4/5


Promise me you'll come back!

"Maria Full of Grace", "Under the Same Moon", "Fast Food Nation", "Babel" and quite a few others have used the medium of film to attempt to show the American public the plight of illegal Hispanic immigrants in the United States. Most of these have used snapshots or very specific situations to illustrate the problems and move the viewer to action or emotion. This movie excels in that it is able to capture a huge chunk of the illegal worker's experience and at the same time keep the story incredibly personal and relatable. As we follow Carlos Galindo through dealing with police, theft, gangs, and deportation it is impossible to avoid sharing in his joys and (sadly, much more often) his pains. Demian Bichir deserves all the accolades he is getting this award season as he gives one of the most moving and, most of all, believable performances of the year.

There is a huge problem with the way our country treats immigrants (especially those here illegally). The only way it is going to change is if we begin to think of all people as fellow citizens of the world first and then move on to how we can all have "A Better Life".

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

War Horse (2011) 5/5


Can you imagine flying over a war and you know you can never look down? You have to look forward, or you'll never get home. ...What could be braver than that?

Viewing the horrors of war from the point of view of an animal. I'm a little surprised this didn't happen earlier (maybe it did, and I'm forgetting it) because it works perfectly to expose war's absolute needlessness. The beautiful boy gets horse-boy loses horse-boy gets horse story is framed perfectly by amazing cinematography and John Williams indispensable score. The pacifist theme is simply icing on the cake.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bellflower (2011) 4/5


-Here we go! Wait, what if it blows up or something?
-Then we're gonna be on fire.

One of my biggest pet peeves about movies is the idea that it takes an enormous amount of money to make a quality film. Sure, I really dug Avatar, but Clerks was pretty freakin' fantastic too. It is especially upsetting when people use this mantra to defend an otherwise crappy movie. I use Facing the Giants as an example (but pretty much any Hallmark Hall of Fame flick will do). When I tell people that I didn't like it, oftentimes the response is: "But you don't understand, one church made the movie with no professional actors or directors and a budget of only a few hundred thousand dollars." Don't get me wrong, I respect that (and the motives behind the movie), but that doesn't make their movie any less BAD!

I preface this review with the above rant because Evan Glodell wrote, directed, built the cameras (and most of the props), and starred in this movie. He also made the film with his friends for around $19,000. The plot follows Glodell's character as he and his buddy pass the time by preparing for the end of the world by building flamethrowers and a souped up muscle car. Their journey is made all the more interesting as he falls in love, gets his heart broken, and embarks on a fantasy-fueled, brain-damaged, hyperkinetic grand finale that has the viewer so utterly awestruck that it doesn't really matter that reality is somewhat distorted.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Artist (2011) 3/5


With pleasure!

The King's Speech, The Hurt Locker, Crash, Million Dollar Baby, Chicago, A Beautiful Mind. Those movies all have two things in common: They all won the Academy Award for Best Picture and they all are very underwhelming movies. Don't get me wrong, I liked them all, but the BEST picture of the year should be something special not something routine and slightly above average. Film nuts will look back on the above movies and wonder how they triumphed over the likes of The Social Network, Up in the Air, Brokeback Mountain, Gangs of New York, and Moulin Rouge!.

I mention all of this because The Artist is almost assuredly going to win best picture this year. It is a love story to movies that nails the target Academy voter demographic perfectly. Also, just like the movies above it is almost painfully average. When I think of words to describe this movie I land on such gems as "good", "cute", "neat", and "enjoyable". That might not sound too bad, but the best picture of the year should be described with words like "moving", "mind-blowing", "amazing", and "astounding". My main gripe with The Artist is that, although a different story, it feels like a ripoff of the much superior "Singing in the Rain". Maybe if they had spent more time singing and dancing and less time "mugging" into the camera the film would have truly captured some of the magic it so desperately is trying to channel.

The Guard (2011) 4/5


I'm Irish. Racism is part of my culture.

This is a simple cops & robbers story with two really extraordinary twists: It's set in western Ireland (where many of the characters still hold IRA ideals of distrust of outside authority, nationalism, and a propensity to violence) and career character actor Brendan Gleeson turns in one of the best performances of the year as a semi-corrupt but lovable small town cop (or guard as the locals call them). An American FBI agent (Don Cheadle) plays Gleeson's straight man perfectly as the two realize they are the only lawmen that are on the payroll of a huge drug shipment entering Ireland. Hilarity and a pretty palatable dose of heart ensue turning the everyday action/comedy on its ear.

Moneyball (2011) 4/5


-Would you rather get one shot in the head or five in the chest and bleed to death?
-Are those my only two options?

Aaron Sorkin may be the best writer of this generation. Don't get me wrong he's certainly not the best novelist and I wouldn't even put him in the top 5 for those that craft screenplays, but if you want 5-10 minutes of lightning fast witty dialogue about almost anything, Sorkin is your guy (see Sportsnight, The West Wing, and The Social Network if you don't believe me). Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill (and to a very small extent Philip Seymour Hoffman) take Sorkin's magic words and Billy Beane's rags to emotional riches story and deliver a silky smooth chunk of entertainment regardless of your opinion on team sports.

I've yet to see the big two contenders (George Clooney in The Descendants and Jean Dujardin in The Artist), but Brad Pitt's performance is certainly worthy of a long overdue Oscar.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011) 5/5


I will never stop trying. Because when you find the one... you never give up.

I had heard a lot of good things about this movie and, being a big fan of its stars (especially one Julianne Moore), I fully expected to enjoy myself. I had no idea it would be able to blow me away as much as it did. I expected an above-average take on the middle age infidelity and rediscovery film. I simply wasn't prepared for what a got: a parable extolling the virtues of true love. The comedy flows freely because of the familiarity of the characters and their struggles. I find it strange that "Bridesmaids" is getting more critical love this awards season (and will probably win best comedy tomorrow night) because its comedy is derived from characters acting in completely unrealistic ways.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Adventures of Tintin (2011) 3/5


-We've got bad news. We've only got one bullet.
-What's the good news?
-We've got ONE bullet.

Steven Speilberg's first foray into animation was pretty cool. It really is worth watching for the sea battle and the chase scene alone. That being said, I have three rather glaring gripes:

1. Indiana Jones is garbage without Harrison Ford in full Han Solo-shooting-Greedo-first-bad#*@ mode. Speilberg has been working on this movie since "Raiders of the Lost Ark" came out because someone told him it reminded them of the French comic book character. I get that they are both rather adventurous types, but no one is Indy except Indy. Not Nick Cage (National Treasure), not Angelina Jolie (Tomb Raider), not Brendan Fraser (The Mummy), I guess maybe River Phoenix (Young Indy Chronicles), but no one else! After reading the comics to prepare for his roles in the film, Andy Serkis (aka Gollum/King Kong/Ceasar) admitted that the stories were more Monty Python than Indiana Jones. This is all well and good, except that it feels like Speilberg was trying to remake Indiana Jones. This worked during the two scenes mentioned above, but for the other 100 minutes it just didn't cut it.

2. Motion capture animation technology stinks unless you are making a live action film with a few animated characters or you simply want your characters to look very creepy. It's called the "Uncanny Valley (read more about it here) As digital (or robot) humans begin to look almost perfectly (but not quite) like humans they enter a really unfamiliar zone of creepiness. It is a little better here than in "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" or "The Polar Express" because the characters are a little more cartoony, but the uncomfortable feeling is still there.

3. 3-D is a horrible abomination that has been forced on unwilling movie patrons to keep box offices up while people start drifting away to their TVs and computers. I took Abby to see this movie today with two free tickets (thanks Uncle Toby!), and shelled out $7 for the $3.50 apiece 3-D charge. My first gripe is that the previews (which I usually love) are almost unwatchable because the glasses glare like crazy while the house lights are still a little up. It gets a little better once the movie starts, but it still doesn't ever leave the realm of mild distraction. With our current digital technologies movies look amazing! Why muck them up with a piece of plastic in front of your face to dim and blur the screen. I have never heard a single person says that they would rather see a movie in 3-D. Hopefully I have seen my last 3-D film at the theater as Abby doesn't seem to be a very big fan either (she took her glasses off and watched the 2nd half of the film blurry).

New direction for the movie blog/Golden Globes picks

So my second year of blogging was an utter failure. I blame Eraserhead for stopping me in my tracks. I realized that I didn't have much to say about beloved (at least by some) movies that I didn't really dig. I am switching up my blog to pretty much be a dumping ground for movies I watch and commentary as we dive into awards season. That being said, here are my Golden Globes picks according to the buzz I read as I have seen only about 10 or so of these movies. I have a lot of catching up to do before February 26th!