Friday, October 31, 2014

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


This year make sure you eat ALL the candy 
you have at home ;)

What's Next On My List? Frankenweenie

This review is going to be especially hard for me as I want to forget I ever saw this film... however, it is perfect for this year's Halloween review, so let us dig into:


Our protagonist, if we can call him that, Victor is a young scientist who loses his best friend Sparky in an accident. He finds a way to bring him back with an experiment, but he must be hidden. Victor's class is preparing for a science fair and some of them get to know about Victor's success and wish to do the same. But when you change the variables in an equation, you get a different result. The other experiments turn all into monsters and it is only when the kids get together that they manage to defeat them. Sparky helps as well, and because of that the town regards him as a hero.

Somebody please help me understand why this movie got made. So there was a short and somebody thought that it would be a great idea to make a whole movie out of it? I'll admit, not a bad idea, but perhaps it would've been nice to have a script. And by that I mean that there comes a point where you realize that this movie doesn't make any sense and it is basically a kid playing with his toys in his room after seeing 2 seconds Frankenstein (1931). The problem with that? It lacks character development, and the story suffers for it and then you have all of these dumb references, which in case you are a 7 year old, you will NOT get. I barely got them and I look this stuff up! And what I really hated about the movie is that it made mistakes that could've been very easily fixed.
Let's go in order. Our protagonist Victor of course is the young version of Doctor Frankenstein, who later on would go to build his monster. In this version he brings back to life his dog. I like this premise, here is where it goes wrong: Victor makes a cute film with Sparky which he shows to his parents. This kid got mad skills with film making, and not a single time do they mention that he has any other skills. They get a weird teacher and everyone wants to go to the science fair but not one single sentence like 'I love science' is uttered. Are we to assume that Victor is so talented because of the original story? That's great for me, who is familiar with it, how'bout the young children who watch it and have no idea? And not to mention that every freakin' kid in this class wants to win at that stupid science fair. Why? Did they have a previous teacher who inspired them? Because the new teacher was around like, what, two weeks? What is in the price at the fair that it is so life changing to everyone?
We are told that Victor doesn't have any friends... although that kid 'E' Gore did try, and he was painfully rejected... now, based on the other kids' reaction, I think that the fact he is a loner isn't because he is introverted or something, but the others are jealous of him. Not to mention that I am going to assume that they are so crazy about the science fair because the parents seem to be against it - it is known that children tend to move toward something that they are told not to do. Still, then why does this town have a science fair in the first place? If indeed the parents hate it so much. My other biggest problem is with the science teacher, Mr. Rzykruski. Actually, he was the best character in the whole movie and he tried to raise awareness to a problem that was a bit of social commentary. And I loved that. But because the movie is obscured by the plot holes, the message gets lost in translation. Nonetheless, let me quote here the best speech in the whole movie:

"Ladies and gentlemen. I think the confusion here is that you are all very ignorant. Is that right word, ignorant? I mean stupid, primitive,unenlightened. You do not understand science, so you are afraid of it. Like a dog is afraid of thunder or balloons. To you, science is magic and witchcraft because you have such small minds. I cannot make your heads bigger, but your children's heads, I can take them and crack them open. This is what I try to do, to get at their brains!"

So Sparky dies, all very sad, I remind everyone that we have not once actually seen Victor do experiments, or build something, or simply read a science book, but the teacher gives him an idea. Next scene he gets Sparky's corpse and he does his thing and he is seen by their neighbor, Mr. Burgemeister. This character was presented as a possible villain, yet he did nothing. I don't even get his name, as toward the end he is called Van Helsing, he hates dogs, sees Victor's experiment but other than leading a mob for like 5 minutes, he doesn't do anything. So what is the lesson? There is no villain? Or is everyone a villain, but it depends on how you look at things?
Sparky is brought to life and every kid assumes that Victor will want to use him for the science fair. He didn't. He was lonely as shit and wanted his best friend back. 'E' Gore talks to him about the experiment, what if you ask him 'Hey, are you gonna enter your dog?'. Because if no, then the whole movie doesn't have a plot because every kid could focus on their own projects. Not to mention, do the kids think that if they all enter the same experiment - which clearly they stole - then they'll get a special prize? Either way, communication: Something this movie lacks.
Same with Victor's parents. They basically tell Victor that the problem is not that he brought back his dog, but that he kept it a secret. Or at least I think, I'm not sure. Nothing really happens as in the end the parents go out of their way to save Sparky again. There is also a moment when they tell Victor that Sparky has to be kept secret, so they head out to look for him, and with a lot of secrecy go around town yelling "SPARKY!". Really low key there parents. I think that they didn't want to turn the parents into evil guys. Which is sweet as they are very lovable characters. But I missed the character development again: So until that moment it was not OK that Victor is at home all the time with his dog, but now that it is a dead animated dog, then it is suddenly OK. Whatever.
Although I have a lot more, my last critique is gonna be the ending of the movie. It was a big mash-up of all the possible references they could think of from old black-and-white Halloween movies. Now, this was a bit of a gentle nod, but for who? Again, let's imagine the audience this was directed to: Children who have no idea what is going on. Do you know how long it took me to get the last fight reference? The half bat half cat is supposed to be Dracula? OK I guess, but I'm pretty sure that was a different movie. Oh never mind, my biggest problem of all is how the experiments were turned back. Victor, despite the fact that his classmates are such assholes to him, decides to help them reverse the experiments. Here I thought two things were gonna happen:
Each experiment would require their own way to be defeated and these children would have to use their love of science to come up with something. This almost happened as one group of monsters was defeated in a very particular way. The second expectation I had was because of the little film Victor showed us in the beginning of the movie. In it Sparky fights a big paper monster, a monster who looked a lot like one of the actual monsters at the end of the movie. Wouldn't have it made a lot more sense if Sparky would've fought him? Instead the way to defeat them was to electrocute them, just they same way as they were brought alive. Isn't that stupid? Was it much better to have a stupid Dracula reference instead? And, the monsters came to life by being shocked by electricity. Victor had a whole effing laboratory with three hundred things; Sparky already had to be sawed together after two weeks; but for the other children - who apparently are not such geniuses - all it takes was just one lightning to succeed? OK. Sure. Why not?

No, I will not address the awfully racist Japanese character who, being like 8 years old, is really not supposed to have an Asian accent. And the fact that Victor has absolutely no likable quality despite the fact that he loves his dog - which, if you are like me who never owned a pet in their life - it isn't easy to relate to.

I hate this movie. Here is a good story: Show us three more second of him liking science; make him have 4 friends with whom he does science who then get upset when they are not part of Sparky's experiment. Make Van Helsing's hatred of dogs the biggest problem, make sure he is happy that Sparky died and be an advocate against supernatural life when he is back. Make the classmates create monsters, destroy them with accurate science and make Sparky the hero. Still, kill him off in front of others, so he can be a secret in Victor's life. Van Helsing will apologize, Victor can live with his dog in secret. IS THAT SO HARD??!!

Don't watch this movie. F*ck this movie. I quit, I'm gonna go eat candy.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _

Victor Frankenstein - Charlie Tahan
Mrs Frankenstein - Catherine O'Hara
Mr Frankenstein/Burgermeister - Martin Short
Mr. Rzykruski - Martin Landau
'E' Gore - Atticus Shaffer
Elsa Van Helsing - Winona Rider

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What's Next On My List? Hellboy 1 & 2

I have been postponing this review for over two years now. Not on purpose, I actually keep putting it apart for Halloween and I keep forgetting during that time of the year. But not this year! Finally I had like two months to think about what I want to write about, seeing that I don't actually have time to write... But here we are, and for one of the Halloween specials we are going to talk about two movies that brought hell to Earth:


The government has a small secret division used to save problems that are - literally - out from this world. The leader of the team is Red, who is a demon who came through a portal back in the second world war and Nazi German wished to use him as a weapon. He was, however, saved by the allies and a professor who brings him up as his own son. In his team we also have Abe Sapien, an amphibian, and Liz Sherman, Red's love who struggles with her pyrokinetic abilities throughout the first movie.
Their team has to fight Rasputin, resurrected charlatan of the Romanov era, who summons Hellboy - Anung Un Rama - to open the portal for ultimate chaos to take over the world. The apocalypse is bound to happen as Liz's soul is sent over to the other world, and to get her back Red has to open the portal. An agent, John Myers, assigned to help Red reminds him that his father taught him to choose his own destiny. He destroys the door, he beats Rasputin and tells the guy on the other side, that he better send Liz back to him, because he'll cross over for her, and they won't like that.

This movie is one of my favorites. It is literally like reading the comic! And why? Because it gives you a small introduction and then shows you what's important instead of losing time on the small details. Not to mention that it doesn't try to adhere to the unknowing public, but be true to the story and hope that those who don't know it will grow to love it - and they do. It is about family, about love, mystery and both sides of the coin: reality and fantasy. You genuinely care about these characters, you want to be these characters, or at least be part of the team! And what is beautiful is that in general all comic book heroes have to learn about responsibility and what their powers will bring about if they are used for the wrong reason. Not to mention accepting that they are not 'normal' anymore. Hellboy, on the other hand knows very well the impact he has and for that he wishes nothing but to be normal.
This also comes in with his relationship with Liz, who always wished to be a regular girl. Their love story is very moving and compelling. What else can I say? I love these characters! The only comment I can make is that I never understood what was the point of the agent who was assigned to look over Red. He was a nice addition for us to understand how Red wished to be more normal, but he acted like he understood everyone's pain, and then he tried to hit on Liz... that was very uncool! I did not get that part of the movie at all! Because if the lesson was that she does love Red, then they should've made their connection stronger for us to fear for even a second that Liz will not choose Red in the end. But that's my only critique.


The movie begins with the professor telling young Hellboy a legend of a King who possessed a crown that was able to control an army of golden soldiers. Knowing the power that comes from the crown, the King had it divided into three pieces and scattered it in all the kingdoms - both real and monster kingdoms.
The King's son, Prince Nuada travels to our world to get one of the pieces at an auction down town with the help of little monsters. Red's team goes to the scene to investigate, and in the meanwhile come across Princess Nuala, who wishes to stop her brother from going insane with power. Our team travels to their world in order to stop Nuada, but almost lose Red in the process. The Angel Of Death reveals to Liz that far bigger danger awaits them if Red is resurrected, as he will not be able to reject his destiny again. Liz chooses him nonetheless and he is brought back. The two decide to quit this job together and be happy.

I actually saw the first one just a few months before this came out. This story really used the foundation it laid in the first one. This one focused on Red and Liz having a serious relationship and Abe looking for something similar. He has a bond with Princess Nuala, but they are from two really different worlds. I also love that Red becomes sick of hiding. He believes that if people knew he was not just a legend, then they will appreciate the fact that he keeps saving them. Unfortunately they live in a world that is still not able to open to creatures like him. This struggle takes him throughout the movie and in the end he realizes that he got everything he needs and fame is not part of it. Having been brought back he is ready to appreciate all that he has. And in case there is a sequel coming, we are reminded that Hellboy has a destiny and you can't help but wonder what is coming.
I will say that I liked this movie a lot, because while the first one took time to show us Red's love for Liz, this time we see the other side of that relationship and you can't help but feel for them. I actually liked this movie more than the first one because it gives us more of all the characters. Not to mention that the fist one tried to show us the characters through the eyes of a single agent and that went a bit nowhere... But never mind that. If you liked the characters in the first movie, you are bound to enjoy it here. I will say that Guillermo Del Toro went a bit too far with his monsters after Pan's Labyrinth, but I don't care because I hate comic movies where New York is destroyed. I love the fantastic element to it.

Watch them? Yes, because the first one actually takes place on the night of Halloween, then it takes the story to a winter wonderland - fine a cemetery - but it looks great. It gets me in the mood for Halloween and I just love how it is different from all the other comic movies. If you haven't seen them, do check them out, it seems that a third movie is in the making and it took them six years, so I don't think we will be disappointed!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Hellboy "Red" - Ron Perlman
Liz Sherman - Selma Blair
Abe Sapien - Doug Jones
Tom Manning - Jeffrey Tambor
and
Professor Broom - John Hurt

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Top 3 Favorite James Bond Movies

I thought very hard about whether or not I should write this short entry. This character was invented by Ian Fleming and was played by six actors. The MI6 agent is quite famous all around the world.
But I had a difficulty with this entry for another reason... Let's face it, we all watch Bond movies for one singular reason: The feature song at the beginning. You know it's true! Don't lie! You simply think that you don't know the words to 'Goldeneye' by Tina Turner, but if I were to put it up you would be singing at the top of your lungs! You would at first say 'mirror' instead of 'water', but afterwards you would have no problem! And that's the other thing, isn't it? We love those songs! And each year they get some big artist for the new movie and there comes a point where you don't really care about how James Bond is going to save the world - again - you just want to hear that damn cool theme song! (Both the original Bond theme song - click here to listen! - and the featured pop song!)
That being said, you might also wonder why I'm going to talk about only 3, when there have been a total of 23 movies. The reason of very simple, although I have seen some of the old ones - and sooner or later I will have seen all - I have a fond memory of those that I grew up on. And there are only three that I am willing to watch, and re-watch, over and over again.

For a list of all 007 movies click here!

3) Casino Royale (2006)

Why this one? Because I thought it was going to suck. I was offended that they moved to a blondie instead of Brosnan and I was convinced this movie would be awful. Yet I loved it. Every time I see it, it captures me completely. I will admit that he is nothing like the Bond that I'm used to, and because of that the other two movies didn't really get to me as much as this did. But the set up was marvelous in my opinion, with great on screen chemistry and an elaborate plot. The action scenes were to die for and the whole movie simple put: works. This angry, driven but very smart Bond fits Daniel Craig perfectly. I think I'm gonna watch it again tonight... (Click on the title for the feature song 'You Know My Name' by Chris Cornell!)

2) The World Is Not Enough (1999)

Strangely enough this is not so high on anyone else's list, but for me? Pierce Brosnan? Now this is my James Bond! I came across this many years later while searching for Sophie Marceau movies. There are still several scenes from it that I re-watch to inspire me when I write. I liked the casting, the story, the twist - back then I didn't have the ability to guess the whole plot after the first frame. I think the actors had natural chemistry, the action scenes were off the hook and Marceau as the villain? 10/10. I am being completely honest when I tell you that I have no idea why people don't like this movie. Have the not seen Die Another Day???!!! (Click on the title for the feature song 'The World Is Not Enough' by Garbage!)

1) Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

It was this movie that introduced me to this world in the first place. The mysterious agent who, really, is not mysterious at all as he loves to give his name to everyone. The dark gentleman who can woo any woman. Seriously, how does he do that? Is it the suit? It's the suit, isn't it? And the vodka martini... Say all you want, I don't care about who is paying for these movies now, there is no Bond without a fancy cocktail that clearly no man would drink today. 
Tell me, have you ever noticed that there is no actual evil lady in this movie? The 90's Bond movies all have two women on the cover, out of which one conveniently turns out to be evil (I would here like to take the opportunity to tell Die Another Day to go f*** itself for making Rosamund Pike - the only likable character in that movie - the evil one! I hate you movie, I wish you didn't exist!!!).
Either way, here we have a woman who very much loves Bond, actually, I think Teri Hatcher's character was the only one who truly loved James (I never called him that before. I hope he won't mind...). She unfortunately married the wrong guy, who in the end killed her. But she never betrayed our hero. Have you ever noticed that? I hated her death actually, I'm pretty sure I cried when I saw this movie. 
I was also about seven years old, and I think it was this movie that made me understand how acting works. But I do remember being very shocked that Lois Lane was sleeping with James Bond. If you don't get that joke, you are way too young and I hate you.
Moving on, I loved this movie so much that it was the first film I ever bought on DVD! Unfortunately, it was mislabeled and I bought a copy that can only be viewed in Region 1 - which Europe is not... It took me quite some time to finally be able to re-watch it without those damn advertisements and with the original language! And it was just as awesome as I remembered and I cried, laughed, and at the end wanted to fight myself! This is the Bond I grew up on and this is the Bond that I love so dearly. 90's action movies are cheesy today, but they are so close to my heart that sometimes even I am surprised sometimes. Nonetheless, this is one of the best ones available out there! (Click on the title for the feature song 'Tomorrow Never Dies' by Sheryl Crow!)

Watch Bond movies? Sure, I don't really care :D this entry was more for me, then you really. Let's be honest, you are going to disagree and say something about how the originals are unbeatable or that Skyfall was awesome and I can tell you right now nobody cares. I sure don't. I like these. And the fact that we are not the same makes the world go round! Embrace that! Make your own list!
I like my Bond movies shaken, not stirred.

Until the next item on my list!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What's The Next Movie On My List? HappyThankYouMorePlease

It is autumn, and what a glorious season it is! I didn't when I was younger, but I do love it now! The colors, the odors, the weather? It simply warms my heart. Literally like a warm-up before Christmas :D Because of that I like to re-watch movies that provoke the same sentiment in me. These movies, wouldn't you know, are usually stories that take place in New York. Among these I would like to list You've Got Mail, My Sassy Girl (click here to read my review!) and well, this one. It doesn't actually take place during the autumn season, nonetheless, the first two mentioned made me fall in love with New York city and this does have that same warmth feeling that I love. You hear so many horrible stories about the US... not to mention the Big Apple alone, but all these stories still give me hope, still make me dream - this movie alone makes me wish I could live in New York! Here's why:


Four very good friends face the real world in the most unexpected way. They are all grown ups, but don't quite realize it until something hits them. Sam comes across a lost little boy, Rasheen, on the subway the same day he meets the girl of his dreams, Mississippi. Sam decides to take in the boy, only to lose him when child protective services find out that he has been staying with him without permission.
At the same time he also loses Mississippi, who is looking for something more than a man with the dream of making it big someday. His friend, Annie struggles between an ex-lover and a nice man she would usually never date. She discovers that she is too old to fool around with someone who doesn't take her seriously. Their two friends, Charlie and Mary seem to have hit a rough patch in their relationship. Charlie wants to move to the other coast and Mary fears that he wants to actually move away from her and not just New York city. When she finds out she is pregnant, she can hardly tell me, worrying he might be mad, only to find that no other news could have made him happier as he loves her very much. Ultimately it doesn't matter where you live as long as you have the right people around you and that is the one lesson they all learn.

What can I say? I was moved. I once already talked about a movie that was both written and directed by Josh Radnor - entitled Liberal Arts (click here to read my review!) - which was a home run for me. I actually saw this first, of course, but I couldn't write about it for a while. It was hard for me to put into words my feelings. Usually I just write quick summaries, keep in mind, here I gave you my interpretation of the movie as well. And is that interpretation that makes me love it so much. Growing up doesn't actually come from aging. No, in my opinion at least, it comes when you are faced with the decisions you've made and have to learn to live with those. And the best way - or the easiest way - is to have people who matter to you the most around you. Taking responsibility and then action is a lot easier then one would think, but we are afraid of taking that first step.
The movie focuses on the many wonders of the city, with one character - Charlie - constantly criticizing it. He keeps seeing only the bad things because he wants to move. He's been to Los Angeles where the sun always shines and New York looks like a dump in comparison. This is great as none of the other characters seem to see it. Not to mention that while Sam is a struggling writer and Mississippi has come to the city to become a singer, you have that 'American Dream' element. It perfectly complements how one who lived his whole life in a place will learn to neglect the beauty of it. And in the one who never got there only sees it surrounded by a pink cloud. Having lived in two countries, two very different cultures, I can appreciate the irony in the story.

Watch it? Definitely. Josh Radnor has a real talent when it comes to directing and writing. It is original, at times funny, most times moving and the variety of characters will make you fall in love. You will see a reflection of you own mistakes, your own decisions, and a reminder of how great it is to be around your friends. Those friends who have become family.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Annie - Malin Akerman
Mary - Zoe Kazan
Charlie - Pablo Schreiber
Mississippi - Kate Mara
Rasheen - Michael Algieri
Sam #2 - Tony Hale