Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Olympus Has Fallen

Sorry this took so long to post. Better late than never I guess.

Wow. Could it be? A Gerard Butler movie that doesn't suck? Why yes :) I wasn't really planning on seeing this movie mainly because of him. I have nothing against Gerard Butler but lately all he seems to do is these god awful romantic comedies. But I decided to give this movie a chance when I found out Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart are in it. I'm glad I did. Olympus Has Fallen ended up being much better than I thought it would be.

All you really need to about the plot is Gerard Butler plays a Secret Service agent named Mike Banning. He has a pretty close relationship with President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his family, especially the President's son Connor. Everything is going great until one night something tragic happens and it forces Banning to take a desk job at the Treasurer's office, which he obviously isn't happy about. But then one day the White House is overtaken by a Korean terrorist who also kidnaps the President (there is a reason behind why he does this but I can't really remember what it is). As you might have guessed, Banning ends up being the only one who can rescue the President and save America from a big disaster.

Gerard Butler was the biggest surprise of this movie. Not that he was great, but  he made the character very likable  Aaron Eckhart did a good job too. I've been a big fan of his ever since he played Harvey Dent/Two Face in The Dark Knight. Morgan Freeman plays the Speaker of the House and he's amazing as always. Although he really doesn't have as big a role as the trailers/posters lead you to believe.

The fight scenes were pretty bad ass, although the editing kind of sucked. At times scenes were cut so quick that I couldn't tell what was going on. And some scenes were way too dark.

This movie is quite violent  just to warn you. Almost too much at times. Don't get me wrong, I like a good violent, bloody movie as much as the next person, but there's people literally getting their heads blown up in what seems like every other scene and after awhile it's like "Enough already!"

The dialog was cheesy at times, but other times it was pretty epic. Especially a lot of Gerard Butler's lines.

This is also one of those movies where it's best not to think too much about what's going on. Yes, the plot is kinda absurd and in this post 9/11 world there's no way in hell terrorist would get that close to the White House.

But still, the movie is pretty enjoyable if you don't take things too seriously. It's Die Hard meets 24 meets Independence Day (minus the aliens of course).

I hope Gerard Butler keeps doing more of these types of movies. He's really good in them. Maybe it's not too late for him after all and he can redeem himself :)

My Rating: 7.5/10

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Oz the Great & Powerful (3D)

Wow. Could it be? A Disney movie that doesn't suck? (I'm of course talking present day Disney. Old school Disney movies are far superior in my opinion.) Why yes :) Oz the Great & Powerful was really good.

The movie begins much like the classic 1939 movie. It's in black and white, then once you get to Oz it's in color. It tells the story of a Kansas magician/conman named Oscar "Oz" Diggs (James Franco) who one day, gets transported (via hot air balloon) to the magical land of Oz. Because of a prophecy, pretty much everyone believes him to be the great wizard that will defeat the wicked witch and bring peace to the land. He sets out to achieve this, at first for less than noble reasons but eventually he becomes the character we all know today.

This is directed by Sam Raimi, whose previous works include the original Spiderman trilogy. He does an amazing job bringing this whole world to life. Everything looked gorgeous. I highly suggest you watch this in 3D (which for once is really good). You really feel like you're in Oz.

The whole cast did a good job overall. I'll admit, I'm not crazy about James Franco (although I liked him in Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and wasn't sure if he was the right choice to play Oz. At first I wasn't too impressed with his performance (not that it was terrible or anything)  but he eventually won me over. He's quite charming in this. I especially loved his scenes with the little China Doll girl (voiced by Joey King) , which I'll admit had me a little teary eyed. Michelle Williams was the perfect choice for Glinda. I enjoyed watching her scenes. Zach Braff does the voice for Finely, an adorable flying monkey (not a scary flying monkey we're use to, although there's plenty of them in this) who acts as Oz's faith servant and aides him on his journey.

I guess I should talking about how it compares to the 1939 movie. Is it as good? Well, it's hard for me to say either way. But it's definitely a worthy prequel/reinterpretation. There's even a few nods to the original which I thought was nice. What's great is this movie fits into that universe too. But just to warn you, this is not a musical. Infact, not counting the wonderful musical score by Danny Elfman, there's only one song (which is very brief and sung by the munchkins).

There were a few flaws, but nothing too major. The only one that really stood out was the Wicked Witch of the West's origin story. I wasn't crazy about the reason they gave for what made her who she was.

Overall this is a very sweet movie that can be enjoyed by all. I'd say it's one of the best family films I've seen in awhile. There a few scary moments which some young kids might not like, although the ones at the showing I went to seemed okay with it. Anyway, Oz the Great & Powerful is well worth seeing :)

My Rating: 8/10

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Last Exorcisim part 2

WARNING: Some major spoilers if you haven't seen the first movie.

Wow. And I don't mean wow in a good way. This movie was terrible. The only reason I wanted to see this was I liked the first one (minus the ending) and I was curious to see how it would turn out. Big mistake. I know this kind of thing has been said a million times but this was nearly an hour and a half of my life that I'll never get back.

I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'll start with the plot, although I use that term loosely. This starts off right where the last one left off. Although instead of filming it like found footage, this time it's shot as a regular film. Anyway, Nell (Ashley Bell) is the only survivor of the horrific events that occurred in the woods at the end of part one. She's sent to live at a girls home in New Orleans where she starts a new life and tries to forget what has happened to her. Easier said than done of course. For awhile things are going great. But soon the demon that was after Nell in the first one returns, determined to claim her once again.

This is the first time in a long time that a "horror" movie made me want to fall asleep in the theater. Not a damn thing happens in this movie aside from the occasional jump scare and a few disturbing images. But even those were very predictable and not scary at all. There's zero character development. I was hoping maybe they would explore the mythology behind the demon after Nell. That would've made an interesting movie in my opinion. But nope. The effects were awful. I know the movie had a low budget (about 5 million I believe) but that's no excuse. The director didn't even try! It felt like some straight to DVD crap. Seriously, there's no reason this movie needed to be made. The should've stopped after the first and left it up to the audiences imagination what happened next. But of course the studio wanted to make more money since the first movie was a pretty sizeable hit.

I really can't recommend this movie to anyone. I guess if you saw the first movie and are interested in where they take it. Even then, wait til it comes to the Redbox and rent it. Don't wast any more money than you need to. Luckily I saw an early matinee of this today so I didn't pay full price. And even better idea for you guys is go watch Sinister. It's a real horror movie that's one of the best I've seen in awhile. It's much more worth your time.

There's two reasons I'm not giving this a lower rating than I am. First because of Ashley Bell. While far from a great actress, she seemed to be the only one actually trying in this whole damn movie. Second, it's extremely short. I timed it- including the four trailers before it and the movie itself, I was only in the theater a little more than an hour and a half.

Okay, that's the end of my little rant. Now I'm going to relax, watch some real movies, and try to regain what little sanity I have left. I'm going to pretend The Last Exorcism part 2 doesn't exist.

My Rating: 4/10