Sunday, November 11, 2012

Skyfall Review

Director: Sam Mendes

Cast Headliners: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench,  Javier Bardem

Release Date: November 9th, 2012    

      James Bond is back on the big screen. Agent 007 brings with him an aura of awesome that doesn't let up for the two and a half hours that Skyfall lasts. Quantum of Solace may have been a letdown when compared to the excellent Casino Royale reboot.   It can be said that Skyfall has put effort on every front to create an exciting and perfect spy movie experience.

     The action sequences in this film are incredible. They are intricately woven into the plot so that the pacing is perfect.  The opening car and train chase is impressive enough, but that is just the start of what happens in the adventure.  Explosions seem genuine, and Bond is a fighting all star as always.  There are tons of surprises in this film.

   The plot is one of the finest Bond plots around. The culprit behind the crimes is not revealed for a long time, and once he is the movie gets even better. Javier Bardem is wonderful as Silva. He is wonderful in the way that you enjoy it when he is on screen. He is one of those villians that the audience will hate and love to hate.  Director Sam Mendes was apparently inspired by The Dark Knight when making this film, and Silva shares that same Joker-ish quality. Perhaps even more than Joker, Silva can compete on the field easily with Bond.  The best kind of Bond villains are the physical ones who usually happen to be ex-MI6 agents. Silva is one of those; he is a evil mastermind who's antics create the great moments of the film that Bond has to deal with.

   The carefully crafted pacing and editing lends to the epic plot. It is also helped by some beautiful set designs and exotic locales. The movie also feels fresh because of the new characters introduced and elements of humor. The snappy dialogue is entertaining to hear, and there are some genuine laughs to be had. Classic Bond characters are re-introduced for the modern era. The film's ending implies these great supporting characters will be back in the confirmed sequels.   Also of note is the cool soundtrack which creates  tension in every scene.

     The two regulars, Daniel Craig and Judi Dench, give great performances.  The movie really gives a chance for them to get to know each other. The last segment on the film really lets audiences know the inner thoughts of these characters and what they think of each other, which is fitting given the events of the climax. The climax is one of the best action shootouts of the year.

      Overall, Skyfall is a movie with very little flaws.  It knows what it is going for, and attains it.  It aims to be dark and succeeds. The only real complaint is it feels a bit more withdrawn compared to past Bonds. It may be too grim at times. This aids it though and the result is a very different Bond experience. Skyfall is the most epic James Bond film yet, and well worth watching.

It receives a 8.73 out of 10

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wreck It Ralph Review

Wreck it Ralph

Director:  Rich Moore/ Disney Animation

Cast Headliner: John C Reilly, Sarah Silverman

Release Date: November 2nd 2012

   A movie that originally started as Fix It Felix , a movie that has been jokingly nicknamed by variations of its title such as Destroy it Dan and Smash it Steve. What this film really is, is a loving tribute to the video game culture.  Disney has returned to making a great animated movie, and has also made the most "video game ish" movie ever.  It is today's Toy Story , Roger Rabbit, and Super Mario the Movie (just with different characters) that I and the world have always wanted.

       The film takes place in one of those last great arcades that have a mix of video game machines old and new.  Reilly voices Ralph, the Wario/Pete/Donkey Kongish villain of his arcade machine. He tires of his job, and thus his adventure starts.  This segment of the film is the funniest and best in my opinion. It is great to see Bowser and a Pac Man ghost and Zangief and Doctor Eggman sitting side by side on a tv screen for the first time. There are tons of references in most of these scenes, and any present or former gamer will appreciate the work they did in putting in as many as they can. Some great written humor comes from Ralph running into things from other video games.  

   Now if the movie had just been this, I would have been extremely happy.  It soon drastically changes however. He stops off for a flashy and action packed fight sequence in a combination Halo/Call of Duty/Mass Effect/Metroid parody called Hero's Duty , but the film quickly leaves this potential to drop Ralph into the colorful Sugar Rush.  I expected a retro video game movie, but what it became for about 3/4's was an adventure in a world of candy.

    That is not a total problem. While it is regretful that more worlds and references were not included, the fact that everything is made of candy allows for more humor and interesting situations.  Ralph befriends Vanellope, played by Sarah Silverman who shows a good range from cute to angry in her voice. Every character in this film is great, Jane Lynch as the gritty Samus/Ripleyish Sgt Calhoun and Jack Mcbrayer as essentially his 30 rock character in Fix it Felix from Ralph's game also deserve mention.
            The plot is well written and full of twists, with some moments very sad and happy.  The movie gets even more exciting as time goes on.   The visuals are also fantastic, it is very cool to see the different graphical styles in different game worlds.

      Just as Toy Story showed the world what toys may do when owners aren't around, Wreck it Ralph looks inside the world of games.  Even if this movie had not had famous characters guest starring it is still worth seeing.  It is a story about games in the best way. Disney has made a film that can be enjoyed by everyone because it is just that good.  I highly reccomend it.     8.75 out of 10

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dark Shadows Review

Dark Shadows

Director:  Tim Burton

Cast Headliner: Johnny Depp

Original Release Date: May 11th 2012  (seen October 2012)

      I must say starting out that I have never seen the original Dark Shadows. If it is anything like what Burton has made with this live action film then i would be very interested to see it. Dark Shadows is arguably about a brilliantly acted Barnabas Collins, who is played by Johnny Depp. An introductory scene is set in a good recreation of 1700's. The first segment could fit right into Sleepy Hollow. Things get interesting, and funny, when the film jumps into the 1970's for the majority of the plot
                         Depp's acting charisma is at a high here. In every movie that he's in he transforms into something larger than life. With Barnabas being a vampire, it takes a certain skill to be undead. Depp pulls it off as always. Much of the well written humor comes from him interacting with the 70's era, in that way typical Burton humor. The cause of his condition and villianess Angelique played by Eva Green was a great character as well.   The rest of the cast is decent but nothing to right home about, going with the atmosphere of the movie everyone has a reserved approach to their role.

        Barnabas's world is a dark one. The visuals and feel of Dark Shadows are oozing with atmosphere as always in Burton's work.  This film has some moments of humor, but they are overall mixed into a tale of darkness and tension.  The plot is great too, escalating to a epic finale.

        If only the rest of the cast were as entertaining to be around as Depp and Eva, and the best moments come when they interact.   The plot got a bit slow in places; the pacing of the film could have done with some trimming and re-arranging.      Despite this though, it was a great vampire comedy drama (that's what i call this type of film and i would hope to see more of the same).    If one is a fan of Burton or Depp or quality dark stories, this film is defiantely worth checking out.    8.5 out of 10