REVIEW: Turbo

Another two week session of no blog entries! I was working another camp session in Princeton, and thus had no time to write. However, now that I’m done working this summer, entries should resume their weekly updates! Let’s kick this off with a movie I saw a couple days ago: DreamworksTurbo!

Plot:
 
Turbo‘s premise is cool. Theo, a garden snail that dreams of being a racer comes into contact with nitrous (the stuff you see in racing games and the Fast & Furious series that gives racing cars a temporary boost of insane speed) and is able to utilize it, much to his brother Chet’s dismay. After some unfortunate events, he and Chet are fired from the garden they work at and shortly after Chet is taken by crows. Using his speed, Theo (who I will now call Turbo because that’s what he calls himself) follows the crows and saves Chet, only to be captured by humans and entered into a snail racing competition. Turbo shows off his insane speed, and is entered into the Indianapolis 500, where he competes with the best of the best racing cars.

The plot itself flows quite nicely. I was pleasantly surprised to see some real character growth in a film that looked, to me, like one of those silly and fun kid’s films.

Acting:
 
Let me just get this out of the way: the actors for voicing were amazing. Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, and Snoop Dog/Lion? Sign me up! The acting was great, the one-liners were funny. All the characters meshed together really well. I enjoyed it.

Atmosphere:
 
The atmosphere is, well, pretty much racing. The animation itself is nicely done, the effects are really cool, and watching a snail go over 200 mpg alongside formula 1 racing cars in an iconic race was really cool to watch. Also, the music choices and the definite reference to pop culture was very funny. It was nice to see an animated film that referenced remixes being made on the Internet (and the remix was actually pretty catchy!)

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If you’re looking for something fun and cool to watch, or you want to see a snail body formula 1 racing cars, check out Turbo! It’s a solid film.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (stars)
 
Just Sayin’.

REVIEW: Epic

A couple weeks ago, instead of going to see The Great Gatsby, my girlfriend and I decided to see a movie called Epic. To be honest, I thought it was by Dreamworks or Disney at first until I did some research on Blue Sky Studios, and I have to say, their production value is really good. 

Okay, on with the review!


Plot:
 
The plot here is interesting, but not something I haven’t seen before. There’s a secret society of miniature people (the human-like Leafmen, the monster-like Boggons, and then the plants and animals are all living as well) that live in the forest, with the Leafmen and Boggons engaged in war that will determine if the forest lives or dies. Mary Katherine (or M.K. for short) goes to live with her eccentric father (who is trying to find the tiny people) due to a request made by her late mother, but after that goes awry, she ventures into the forest and is transformed to a mini size by the Queen of the Forest, Tara, and gets caught up in the war. It’s definitely an interesting angle for the way a forest lives and dies.


The characters all have pretty noticeable arcs, and they’re all pretty solid, although, like most of these movies, love between M.K. and the obvious male love interest happens ridiculously fast. I think it’s sad that that’s something I’ve become accustomed to, but given the relatively short length of the movie (about 90 minutes), I can see why it happens so fast. I wish more movies would take it slow, though.


Acting:
 
The acting is actually pretty good. Nothing really amazing, but nothing bad, either. Not much to say, here. It’s just really solid (except for a few parts, but they’re negligible).


Atmosphere:
 
The animation to build up the atmosphere is really, really good. The way they depict the forest and its secret inhabitants is really nice, and Queen Tara’s control of the forest was really cool to look at. They depict her walking over water with lily pads that instantly move to be under her feet as she moves, she can make tree branches attack with the flick of her wrist – really, the animation is superb. Also, the way things decay is pretty cool, too.
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If you’re a fan of animated films (or Ice Age) check Epic out. It’s a neat little film that’s really solid. It’s not incredible, but definitely a solid choice if you’re looking for a film to go see.
Rating: 3 out of 5 (stars)
 
Just Sayin’.

REVIEW: Iron Man 3

Last Friday, I got to see the third installment in the Iron Man series. Does it live up to the hype? I would say so.

Plot:

The plot here is a typical super-hero plot. Some guy Tony Stark met years ago has now invented something called Extremis which causes humans to regenerate wounds (even body parts) and turn into super-soldiers. To be honest, I wasn’t too impressed with this.

What’s under this plot is a psychologically damaged Tony Stark trying to come to grips with what happened in The Avengers. I want to point out that one of my main concerns for this movie was if this was going to be before or after The Avengers happened, and I think it’s awesome to see that the movie (and I assume future Marvel films) will now all take place after The Avengers, meaning the characters are all affected by what happened.

Acting:

Robert Downey Jr. once again is a star. Ever since Iron Man, I’ve loved him as Tony Stark, and it feels like he’s only become more of the character now.  Don’t get me wrong, Gwyneth Paltrov (Pepper Pots), Don Cheadle (James Rhodes), and even Guy Pearce as the new villain, Aldrich Killian are all great, but Robert really steals the show.

I also have to give credit to the writing team here because, despite being the third movie, Iron Man 3 is still very funny; funnier than most modern-day comedies, I would say, and I think that’s impressive considering comedy films are made to make people laugh.

Atmosphere:

There’s really not much to say here, as the setting is pretty much the same as its been in all the Marvel films: modern-day USA.

I do want to point out that there is a lot less action in Iron Man 3, and instead focuses in on Tony as a character and how he’s dealing with what happened after The Avengers. This may seem off-putting, but I assure you, it’s still just as engaging.

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If you’re a fan of the Marvel films or the Iron Man series, I would definitely recommend this. It’s not perfect, by any means, but I think it ranks a little higher than Iron Man 2.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (stars)

Just Sayin’.

REVIEW: Django Unchained

Let’s talk about Django Unchained.

Plot:
 
The plot is simple – Django, a slave, is freed by a Dr. Schultz (I’m probably spelling that name wrong. LOL), and is told to help him find the Riddle brothers. Afterwards, the two journey to find Django’s wife. The story is an adaptation of an old german legend, and to be frank, I think it’s pulled off quite well.
Acting:
 
For me, Tarantino‘s films are at their weakest when it comes to the plot, and their strongest hen it comes to acting and atmosphere. Django Unchained is no exception: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel Jackson, and Leonardo DiCaprio are all brilliant. I love a film where you can tell the actors are enjoying their roles, and you can definitely tell it here.
No word in this film is wasted, the dialogue is as witty as ever, especially during the KKK scene (which is my favorite scene in the movie)!
Atmosphere:
 
Django Unchained is set in the United States just before the civil war. That means there’s slavery, and in classic Tarantino style, the film throws political correctness to the wind and makes sure the film is true to its setting, and that’s something I like about his films. Apparently, some people are taking offense to Django Unchained, and all I can ask is why? If you can’t bear to hear the word ‘nigga’, don’t watch this movie, but don’t feign offense just because the film tries to emulate what it was actually like back during those times.
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Anyone who is a fan of Tarantino (like myself) should go see this movie. I think it’s one of his better films, and is definitely my favorite amongst them.
Rating: 5 out of 5 (stars)
Just sayin’.

REVIEW: The Hobbit

Years after enjoying the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I was really excited to see The Hobbit. After all, when I read the books, The Hobbit was the first one I read, and I still remember it well. How does the movie stack up? I’d say it does splendidly.

I’m not going to go into detail in case you want to read the book, but it follows the book quite closely, which is really nice. The character arcs and development all follow the book’s path, which is great, because there are some really nice arcs, especially Bilbo‘s and Thorin‘s as they come to accept – and even welcome – each other’s company.

Now, there were a few parts that confused me. The part where Gandalf and Saruman are talking and the part with the Forest Wizard (I completely forgot his name. LOL) are two such parts that I don’t remember being in the book. Fortunately, some friends of mine explained that these were parts from the Appendices, which are extra bits of story at the end of the books explaining some of things that the reader never read about, such as those two very parts. This does one very important thing for me – explain why this is going to be a trilogy.

You see, when I first heard that The Hobbit was going to be a trilogy, I thought to myself, “how in the hell are they going to make one book a trilogy?” Well, the Appendices are the answer to that question, and I think it’s an awesome idea now that I know it’s not just the book, because they go through half the book in the very first movie.

Now, as for the look of the movie: as I mentioned in a previous entry, I saw it in 48fps, which completely changes how the movie looks. But, the look is very similar to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which is very nice. The grandeur landscapes and towns all look fantastic, and even the Shire looks awesome. And in 48fps, it’s simply eye candy.

Oh, and the music, much like the trilogy, is fantastic.I have a soft spot for medieval sounds, however, so the music may not be your cup of tea. I definitely enjoyed it, though.

The Hobbit is a movie any Lord of the Rings fan will enjoy, especially those whom have read the Appendices, but don’t think that someone new to the series wouldn’t enjoy it. It’s got plenty of action, adventure, and good development and plot. Nothing stellar, but definitely solid. And believe me when I say that seeing it in 48fps is worth it.

Rating: 8/10.

Just sayin’

REVIEW: Skyfall

Ah, finals are over, and my exceptionally long winter break is here! With that comes the review of Skyfall that I was going to write last week!

Plot:

The plot is pretty standard Bond, actually, except for the beginning. Bond is killed mid-mission, and comes back to help fight against someone who has attacked MI6. It’s that classic, “Bond goes to get the bad guy” plot.

There are some cool twists, and some that I saw miles away, but the ones that surprised me were really good.

Acting:

I want to touch upon Daniel Craig, here. I really like him as Bond, and I really don’t. There are times when I think he’s absolutely spot-on, and there are times that I just want him to stop talking and tell him to be more…well, Bond!

This is one of those movies where I, for the most part, enjoyed him playing the part of James Bond. I think he was smooth, cool, and not the James Bond of Quantum of Solace.

Atmosphere:

The atmosphere in Skyfall is a mix of awesome, explosions, gunshots, and hand-to-hand combat. Oh, and some swag. Lots of swag. It has a lot of that classic Bond feel to it, which I loved. The music is very good, and the classic Bond melodies and riffs always send a shiver down my spine, because you know something awesome is happening.

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Skyfall is a must-see for those that are fans of the James Bond movies and those who enjoy a good action film (like myself). Anyone looking for something more substantive might be disappointed.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (stars)

Just sayin’.