Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Django Unchained (2012)

This was great great great great great up until the handshake scene.  Then it just became a gratuitous grindhouse feature.  It might have even been noble to leave it with the handshake, but I guess that wasn't in the cards.

First Tarantino movie I have no desire to ever see again.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Rated: PG - Runtime: 97 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

So basically Santa (complete with Russian accent, one of several accents I'm guessing is designed to pop the foreign box office), the Tooth Fairy, the ugliest Easter Bunny you'll ever see, and the Sandman are a guild of guardians who protect children from harm.  Suddenly, the Man in the Moon appoints Jack Frost as a fifth guardian, which causes some questions.  They all team up to take on Pitch Black, aka the Boogeyman, who wants to take away the Guardian powers through the power of disbelief.


Why'd I go to this?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn Part II (2012)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 116 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

I watched the first Twilight movie (review quote: "had all the production values of Highlander: The Series") and none of the sequels.  Until this one.  Might as well see how it all ends.

So basically the leads got married and had a kid.  There's some misunderstanding about the kid's origins which leads to a threat of war, which leads to a lot of brooding around the house, which leads to a war that doesn't actually happen, but we get to watch anyway because the movie would be too short otherwise.  Right?  Yes, that about sums it up.

Really beautiful opening and closing title sequences though.  That's the whole reason to go.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Life of Pi (2012)

Rated: PG - Runtime: 125 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

This was my first experience with Dolby's new 'ATMOS' sound.  Instead of 5.1 or 7.1 channels, Atmos could have up to 128 discreet audio tracks with up to 64 unique speaker feeds.

The most obvious think you'll notice is there's speakers hanging from the ceiling.  A couple dozen in two rows in this room.  The idea is to envelope you with a more natural sound.  Initially, the sound of rain coming from directly overhead was a bit freaky.

The movie is beautifully shot and is pretty freaking great for a "stuck out in the middle of the ocean" plot.  A solid three stars right up to the ending.  But the end was infuriating.  Like "I can't believe I just wasted two hours of my life for THAT" infuriating.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Lincoln (2012)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 249 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

The movie isn't a historical piece about Lincoln's life, but about Lincoln working to get 13th Amendment through the House of Representatives.  It should have ended that way too, but they tacked on something to acknowledge his assassination at the end.  It didn't need to be there.

I'd love to think of Lincoln as he's portrayed in this film.  A great storyteller and a great speaker who knew what to say to get the job done.  I've long believed that's the key to a great President.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Skyfall (2012)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 143 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

I really haven't found any of Daniel Craig's Bond movies all that interesting.  I guess I'm not into the broody pouting Bond.  This one is the best of his three, but aside from the awesome action sequence at the beginning, was largely boring and forgettable.

Not even throwing in the gimmicky references to classic Bond movies served to entertain me.  Craig just isn't that Bond.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Argo (2012)

Rated: R - Runtime: 120 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Based on a true story, six hostages attempt to escape Iran by posing as a Canadian film crew.  It's really good, even though I fell asleep in the middle of it.  But I felt loads better after the gunshot woke me up.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Rated: PG - Runtime: 101 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

I realize this is a kids movie, okay?  I get that.

But considering it's marketing largely revolves around the idea of an 8-bit video game from the eighties, a game that would have been played by people now in their forties, did it have to be SUCH a kids movie?  A LITTLE kids movie???

The movie actually takes place largely in a game called "Sugar Rush", a girly version of Mario Kart.  It may set the record for product placement of food items in a single film.  And Jane Lynch's character ends up married to Jack McBrayer's character at the end.  Imagine the irony.

But the little kids in the audience (and there were a LOT of them) really seemed to enjoy it.

Flight (2012)

Rated: R - Runtime: 138 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

This is a movie about alcoholism and substance abuse.  Sure there's a cool plane crash, but after that it's all Denzel Washington and his addict girlfriend moping and drinking and moping and drinking and moping and drinking and moping and drinking.  We don't even get to experience the crash investigation...just lots of moping and drinking.

Watch the crash, then go home.  You'll have a far higher opinion of the movie that way.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 102 min
tesg's Rating: Four stars (out of four)

Two girls enter the auditorium and sit two rows behind me.

Girl 1: "Well, we made it!"

Girl 2: "Yeah."

Girl 1: "And we got our seats!"

Girl 2: "Yeah."

Girl 1: "And we can actually talk to each other!"

Girl 2: "Yeah".

Yeah.  Gonna be one of THOSE shows.

This is yet another one of those high school weirdos flicks.  It has all the stereotypical characters one would expect in such.  But the thing is, it's perfectly done.  I fell for this hook, line, and sinker.  I am absolutely in love with this movie.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Looper (2012)

Rated: R - Runtime: 119 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

WOW this movie takes a lot of energy to watch.  It's all good, but it's not one to see sleepy.  There's lots of plot loops (pun intended) to close, and they do a fine job.

Great ending.  It's almost like they came up with a good idea for an ending and built a movie around it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Rated: R - Runtime: 111 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Seeing the cast list and the trailer made me think this was going to be a horrible disappointment. It isn't. It's funny, it's bloody, and it's offensive, using slang that's been all but eliminated from the English language. It opens and closes loose ends nicely.

There's plenty of reasons to see this, none bigger than Christopher Walken. He gets multiple monologues, a couple of his best ever. His scene in the waiting room with Woody Harrelson is just phenomenal.

Lots of people are comparing this to Tarantino's work. Said people need to educate themselves on the work of Sergio Leone. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

ParaNorman (2012)

Rated: PG - Runtime: 92 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Starts off pretty weak, gets better as it goes along, and totally redeems itself at the end.

Hit and Run (2012)

Rated: R - Runtime: 100 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

This whole thing is Dax Shepard's baby.  He wrote it, co-directed it, starred in it.  The co-star is his fiancee, and a lot of the cars in it are from his personal collection.

The feel of it reminds me of "Go", though it's not as clever and not quite as fun.  It's still a good time, despite the fact Tom Arnold is in it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Campaign (2012)

Rated: R - Runtime: 85 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

Typical dumb Will Ferrell comedy with at least a few laugh out loud stupid moments.  That's about all I can ask of the guy, "Stranger than Fiction" aside.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Bourne Legacy (2012)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 135 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

It's fine, the two and a quarter hours go by quickly, and there's pretty much everything you'd expect.

Trouble is, nothing is unexpected.  There's nothing new to this and the whole thing feels tired.

Did you know that every car in the Philippines is a Toyota?  Me neither.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

To Rome With Love (2012)

Rated: R - Runtime: 111 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Allen's series of films where he drops relationship stories in scenic European locales continues with Rome. This time, it's a parts-bin series of relationship stories...some related, some not...that mostly dabble in unexpected celebrity.

There's lots of trademark Woody Allen absurdity like we haven't seen in years. Allen himself takes on a role for the first time in his last few projects. Alec Baldwin is a highlight as a character that essentially plays the subconscious of Jesse Eisenberg's character, even though all the characters surrounding him know that he's there and interact with him. Roberto Benigni gets an awesome role as an average guy who suddenly finds himself inexplicably famous for no reason.

Your mileage may vary based on how much you like each story. They're all ideas that, on their own, couldn't be hashed out into a feature. But I personally dug them all.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 165 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

The last twenty minutes of this movie is pretty good.  The problem is the two hours and twenty-five minutes prior to that.  If you can overlook that, you'll probably enjoy this.

The dialogue is relatively simple compared to the previous two efforts.  The villain, a big guy with an in-car drive-in speaker attached to his face, sounds like an amplified Jeffrey Lebowski.  I kept expecting him to try and sell someone a Hyundai.  Catwoman had almost no reason to exist in this movie.  I saw the plot twist coming a mile away.  And Batman's return after an eight-year hiatus...really didn't take much to accomplish, did it.

This is Spider-Man 3 bad.  Really.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ted (2012)

Rated: R - Runtime: 106 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

They spoofed "Airplane".



"Ted" is a funnier than average mediocre romantic comedy that runs about ten minutes too long and would have been better without the sub-plot and if Wahlberg's character just said "Oh well!" when he got dumped and moved back in with Ted and they partied happily ever after. Or if Flash stole Ted's girlfriend and they went in a whole weird direction with that.

I'd sort of wondered if women would even go to this, but the women in this audience were raving about it afterward in the corridor. 

Brave (2012)

Rated: PG - Runtime: 100 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

It's true what everybody says about this not feeling like a Pixar movie.  And I thought it started a little slow, but as it headed towards the finish line, improved quite a bit.

The short before the feature was, however, totally Pixar.  And totally wonderful.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 136 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

First off, this thing is full of plot holes.  They make a point of pointing out how secure Oscorp is in the beginning, yet they have a high school intern with full access to everything including the secret codes to evacuate the facility.  Not to mention Parker appears to be able to parade in and out at will after sneaking in the first time.

That's just the start, though.  It IS overall worth seeing and I suspect teens will be far more into this than I was, but the villain isn't all that interesting and a lot of regular Spider-Man characters are outright missing.

Not as good as the first two Spider-Man movies.  Better than the third.  Then again, three quarters of all movies ever made in the history of the world are better than Spider-Man 3.

Apparently, this was rebooted just so Sony could keep its rights to the franchise locked out of Disney's hands.

Mission accomplished, I guess.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 94 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Ticket Seller: "Enjoy the show!"

Me: "You too."

NO idea why I said that.  It's not like HE'S going to the show.

Wes Anderson has a flair for imagery and dialogue, but this one is almost more cartoonish than "Fantastic Mr Fox".  There's loads of interesting characters, as you might expect with a name cast this expansive, but none of them are explored much save for the two kids.

And yet it was still pretty freaking great.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 124 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

An all-star British cast of old people get suckered into moving to India.  Between said cast, the exotic locale, and a charming script, this works really well, even though it plays like an Aaron Spelling serial.  It wouldn't take a lot of re-writing to turn this into a Fantasy Island reboot.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dark Shadows (2012)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 113 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

I know basically nothing of the television serial this was based off of, and I have a feeling Burton doesn't either.  But as vampire love stories go, you could do far worse than this.  Great sets and a nice soundtrack certainly don't hurt. 

It's no Bram Stoker's Dracula, but I'd watch this again before any "Twilight" movie.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Men in Black III (2012)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 104 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Smiling Concession Girl: "Would you like butter on your popcorn?"

Me: "Yes."

Smiling Concession Girl: "Would you like to upgrade to a large for just a dollar more?"

Me: "No."

Smiling Concession Girl: "Are you a member of our rewards club?"

Me: "No."

Smiling Concession Girl (excitedly): "Can I start a membership for you?"

Me: "No."

Smiling Concession Girl: "Oh."

Me: "..."

Smiling Concession Girl: "Would you like butter on your popcorn?"

Pretty odd of Hollywood to release a second sequel a full ten years after the last sequel.  You'd think they'd go with a reboot, since that seems to be the hip thing to do these days.

The third MIB is far better than the second MIB, and has quite a different tone from either of the previous outings.  Kind of darker.  Less humor.  More personal.  It's a solid two and one half star effort until the end, when suddenly this becomes a three star movie.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Avengers (2012)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 143 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

The theatre had a 3D showing starting at 11:30, the big auditorium starting at noon, and an early show in a mid-sized auditorium at 11:15.  I figured 11:15 was the one to go to.  Nobody's going to that one.

I was wrong about that.

"The Avengers" is as good as any of the recent Marvel efforts that led up to this one,  but even with Joss Whedon's stamp, I didn't think it was really any better.  I'd probably watch "Thor" or "Captain America: The First Avenger" again over this.  But it WAS still good.

Marvel fans, of course, think this is the greatest movie ever made.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Raven (2012)

Rated: R - Runtime: 103 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

The real Poe died a few days after being found delirious on a park bench.  Nobody knows how he came to be there or in that condition.  This movie tries to fill in the blanks by supposing Poe played the role of the Scooby Doo gang assisting the cops.

This is sort of like watching a 19th century episode of CSI, but with a franchise name on it.

Doesn't really make it better.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Rated: R - Runtime: 105 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

This wasn't on my radar at all until a co-worker mentioned Joss Whedon co-wrote it.  Crap.  Now I HAVE to go.

Suffice to say this isn't your average horror movie.  It's sort of a Truman Show take on one.  It's pretty funny and has better than average actors for a horror genre flick.