12/24/08

The Spirit: Get Into It

The Spirit was probably the first comic book movie that didn't take itself seriously and actually FELT like watching a comic book. The unique styling of cinematic allowed the watcher to feel like he was watching a live-action action cartoon such as the WB's Batman cartoon series with real people. The dialog and the action would sometimes lend itself to a unique brand of humor that I think comic aficionados would appreciate. I liked the overall movie because of the light treatment of a dark fare. That being said, it's probably not for everyone.

Some might accuse the movie of being too over-the-top. Which is funny because that's its charm. The story of the Spirit really wouldn't have the same feel if it was given a Spider-Man treatment. And it definitely wouldn't work to turn it into another Dark Knight. Besides the fact I don't think the newbie actor, Gabriel Macht (The Spirit), has the chops to match the performance of Christian Bale as Batman, the whole concept just doesn't lend itself to a realistic portrayal. I think they did a fantastic job of portraying the source material, but for many the source material would be uninteresting and corny.

So really this is where comic book movies separate the true fans from the people looking for some eye-candy. The true fans will enjoy the story-book feel of The Spirit, but, while there is plenty of eye-candy to be had, eye-candy is never enough to solely keep one's attention. The casual viewer should watch at his own risk and be prepared to get into the spirit of The Spirit before sitting down. It's a comic portrayal of a crime fighter who can never die. And I do mean comic - like, funny ha-ha kind of comic. Pretend you're sitting down to read the Sunday comics section of the newspaper. You'll get a chuckle here and there and there's a pretty good story to follow, but it's definitely not to be considered one of the greatest movies of all time by any stretch of the imagination.

The imagery will capture you and the story will entertain you because while the execution may be corny, it's just corny enough so that it works. It helps if you picture speech bubbles coming from their mouths when they talk.

12/19/08

Local Filmmaker's Movie On Child Abuse Makes Premiere

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/dec/19/local-filmmakers-movie-child-abuse-makes-premiere/

This totally isn't a geek movie, but it's the first big premeir of a
movie I wrote. I expect everyone I know from Florida to be there!


____________
Steve Beaudry
http://www.kerussopolis.com

12/16/08

STAR TREK in IMAX


Just got word that Star Trek is going to be played in IMAX. I don't get an employee discount at the local IMAX... Soooooo... I'm gonna have to spend 12 bucks to see a movie. First time in a very long time.

12/12/08

The Day the Earth Stood Still: Two Green Thumbs Up

Let me make this clear from the start: I'm no lover of tree-hugging. We must preserve the habitability of our planet, yes, but there's a point at which conservation becomes insanity. When you start looking beyond the natural order to say that killing for food is wrong when there's no possible way you can eat without killing... that's insane. However, if you completely overlook the natural order to say that littering and nuclear or bio-hazardous waste has no effect when dropped wherever the heck you wanna drop it... that's also wrong. Even redneck Christians should be able to understand that God appointed us as stewards of the Earth in order to preserve it in a habitable condition.

Ok, that's out of the way... let's talk about the movie. But first: the original movie. Now, I'm no fan of comparing a remake to its original. It's bad enough that the remake is taking criticism for merely existing without having to take jab after jab about why it's not EXACTLY like the one that's already been made. Every movie should be taken for its own merit no matter what had come before it. However, in this case I think it's suitable to make some very notable comparisons. Also, here's fair warning: this might contain a few minor spoilers, but I will leave enough out that you will still enjoy some surprises.

The original movie was about humanity making war. Released and set in 1951, tensions were rising in the wake of WWII and an imminent Cold War. In this case, the alien, Klaatu, was coming to warn Earth that if they didn't stop fighting amongst each other and making war between nations an intergalactic government had decided that it would solve all of Earth's problems by wiping out the warring parties: all of humanity.

In the updated version, Klaatu has a similar message of warning, but it's not about war... it's about the environment. The cryptic statement in the trailer now makes sense: "If the Earth dies, you [humans] die. If you [humans] die, the Earth survives." Klaatu goes on to explain in the movie that there are only a handful of life-supporting planets in the cosmos and the intergalactic government to which he belongs cannot afford to lose "this one" (Earth) because of the mistakes of a single species.

Now, I'm not at all taking issue with the classic version. It contains a very valid message that rings true even today. But for the sake of the story, it does kind of make you wonder how the intergalactic government can get away with being that hypocritical. In order to keep humanity from wiping each other out, they're going to wipe humanity out...? Well, ok, Klaatu does explain in the original that his government doesn't want such an aggressive species to grow to make war on them. Still, they're taking quite an aggressive action themselves. The message is clear and remains in tact, but the story seems to lack some coherence.

In this updated version, the interplanetary society is being quite logical in their decision to wipe out mankind. In order to preserve a precious commodity, the life-supporting planet Earth, it must eliminate the threat to its existence: us. Where the original has a touching, albeit incoherent, story with a potent message, the update fills in the gap by making sense out of the aliens' decisions while preserving a story that is just as potent and meaningful.

But here's where most of the viewers are going to take issue: does the story get lost in the flash, glamor, and pizazz of the CG effects and action sequences? I'm inclined to say no, but in order to understand why, this is where you really have to take the movie exactly for what it is and forget everything you know about the original one. There comes a point in the story where it is explained that there is a very good reason for there to be all this global catastrophe and panic. In the original movie, Klaatu generates a sort of EM pulse that stops all electricity everywhere in the world. That's the point at which the Earth stands still. It was meant in that movie as a sign of his sincerity that the planet is indeed at stake. In the new movie it's made clear that the only sign that is ever going to shake humanity out of its indifference is something catastrophic. I won't say anything more about that, but I will say to lovers of the original movie that Klaatu's benevolence is kept in tact. Stopping electricity was meant as a harmless sign, and Klaatu remains just as ready to save humanity's life in this new version. All that to say this: if humanity needs a jolt in the pants to kick them out of their Earth-shattering ways, the only way to do that is to make it seem like their world is really coming to an end, and the only way to do that is with a lot of flash, glamor and pizazz of CG effects and action sequences.

There is so much more I'd like to say about this movie and so much more comparisons I'd like to make to the original, but I can't go much further without spoiling some key elements of the storyline. Suffice it to say that this update of the beloved classic gains my approval. It fits for today just as well as the original fit for its day and I think the story was executed flawlessly. Since the day I first saw the trailer I contended that Keanu Reeves was perfect for the part, and that remains my opinion. This is a different Klaatu for a different time, but Keanu gives him just the right combination of human and alien. Just try to refrain from making any comments about the Matrix when he hacks into security mainframe. That's just tacky.

11/25/08

If I Made Twilight

I was going to review Twilight after I saw it, but when I came out of the theater I was so overwhelmed by the overpowering stench of adolescent estrogen that it took me a while to compose myself and gather my thoughts. So many things didn't make sense about this movie... But, then again, so many things don't make sense about high school girls. So rather than try to rationally explain what the filmmakers intent was like I usually do with sub-par movies, I decided to take Twilight to school and teach it what I would do to make it better.

Let me start off by saying I had no problem with the vampires themselves. Their mythology in this story was completely removed from the occult and given a new reality based on biological science. But what's with the Native Americans and being descended from wolves?? The first thing I would change is this - forget being descended. Make them friggin werewolves! That right there is enough to replace at least half of the crappy forbidden love drama with some nice fang-on-fang action!

And speaking of crappy forbidden love drama, high school is WAY too young to be making an ETERNAL love commitment. And the guy who played Edward really wasn't all that great looking. Here's what I'm thinking. Mid-to-late twenties characters. Chris Pine as the gorgeous love muffin with fangs. You may differ on the particular actor, but the principle is the same. Screw prom, screw biology class, screw high school drama. Give me a love story I can believe that DOESN'T come from the most awkward era of my life.

Now you know I have to say something about the effects. C'mon, guys... If you're going to run up a tree, leave some friggin claw marks. And if you're going to jump away from a girl in bed and land two yards away, then Newton would tell you that you're going to push her so far back into her bed that she's going to spring back up at least a couple feet. We all know you use ropes to accomplish these things, but don't make it so friggin obvious.

In one part, the vampires tear off another vampire's head like it's held with glue. Think about this. If a vampire is so much more powerful than a human, it may be easy for him to tear off a human head, but the very things that make vampires this strong would make it impossible to accomplish the same task on another vampire! This is where we unsheath the machette.

And now my final and biggest grievance with the entire story... The part where the valient Edward saves Bella from the vampire venom shooting through her viens. I'm not going to take this to the place most people have gone who ask why they didn't let Bella become a vampire. It's an overstated argument and I can understand their reluctance. What I want to know is if Doctor Collun was sitting right there why the heck wouldn't he suck the venom out himself?? It's been established that Dr. Collun had the most self control over the blood frenzy that occurs in these vampires over the taste of blood. In my Twilight, the good doctor would have been attacked and on the verge of death himself so that Edward was Bella's only hope for maintaining humanity.

One more thing... If father Collun has set himself up as the town doctor, shouldn't he be spearheading the town's blood-donation efforts?

That's how I would redo Twilight. What are YOUR grievances with the movie?

11/17/08

The Wait is Over

I've watched it about 10 times now. I heard there was a new one yesterday. Rather I read it. I saw a piece of paper on my boss's desk at the theater saying thank you from Paramount for putting the new Star Trek trailer in front of Quantum of Solace! That's right! There's a new Star Trek trailer! With a WHOLE lot more than just the Enterprise being put together! And that's an understatement...

I wish I could embed it into this blog, but that's not allowed for the moment. Go visit their website and watch Trailer 2. It seriously sent shivers down my spine!

11/8/08

10/23/08

Spocklar!

I mentioned before that all this kind of geek review stuff is really just a countdown to the newest and probably greatest Star Trek movie called just "Star Trek." The fact that there is no distinguishing add-on to the title suggests that it's a completely remade franchise starting from the very beginning. Or, in fact, from BEFORE the beginning. And it looks amazing.

Spocklar!


The first bit of awesomeness that came from the rumor mill was the casting of Zachery Quinto, also known as Sylar from Heroes, in the roll of Mr. Spock. This was confirmed not long after and then the poster images came out where we first saw young Spock enclosed in a blue Federation emblem. About a week ago, the above image came out. You just can't help but see a knowledge-hungry, brain-eating villain come out of Spock and it makes you wonder... was Sylar really Spock's grand father on his mother's side? Spocklar is clearly angry at Kirk for some reason in this picture which would indicate a lack of discipline on his part. CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS! Now we know why his father was so disappointed in him.

Anyway... here are some more amazing Star Trek pics for you to look at:




10/17/08

Max Payne: Shoot Random People = Video Game

I'll confess that I never played the video game, but I can see how this movie came from video game inspiration.  Max Payne is a detective who is unofficially investigating the murder of his wife and child.  While investigating this murder, he murders several other people who just happen to get in his way.  Kinda like when you're walking down a dark hallway in a video game and something pops up so your gut reaction is to shoot it.  Yeah.  Makes for some good action, I guess.  But it doesn't really make you like the guy.

I guess he's not trying to be liked, though.  He's just trying to catch the guy who killed his wife without going crazy in the process.  A valiant purpose... but a terrible execution for a detective in the New York Police Department.  He was framed for one crime, but there is AMPLE evidence to suggest that he'd commited MANY other crimes that were never even sniffed at by the department.

But I guess that's neither here nor there.  Max Payne is a mindless action movie.  I don't know about the game.  I would probably like it.  And in fact Max Payne was quite entertaining in its own way.  But sometimes you want steak... and all you get is a mint.

Still... it's better than Alone in the Dark.

10/15/08

Slacker

I've totally been slacking in my geek movie responsibilities.  But I do have a good reason for it.  A reason I'd rather not divulge publically until it's a done deal.  But believe me - it's good!

To make up for this, I'm going to be seeing Max Payne before anyone else in my town does.  I'll be screening it Thursday night and I'll have a review up and ready directly after.

In the mean time, gimme a comment telling me what movies you'd like to see me review and why.

10/4/08

Blindness: Because Your Eyes Are Closed

Let me start by saying that Blindness was shot beautifully and with inspiration. The cinematography clearly saught to bring the feelings of confusion and disorientation that come with blindness. The social implications of the story are clear. They show you a vision of what would happen when the world falls into chaos and anarchy. Clearly this writer doesn't hold out much hope for the Good in people. This point was well made and poignant.

But, that being said, there wasn't much more to it. There wasn't much of a tangible story and following the characters sometimes became dull and uninterestimg. This clearly wasn't a movie made to win any awards or gather a huge following. This was a movie for thinkers. A book on phylosophy will never win a great award though it be read by the greatest minds. So this movie will inspire the thinkers and ignore general audiences.

So I guess it was pretty good. But don't go knowing that you will love it. Go with your thinking cap on and an endurance to longevity.

9/22/08

Igor: The Cutest Little Bit of Evil Ever

I'm a bit embarrassed that I didn't see this one coming. It's got evil scientists and beautiful computer animation - of course it's a geek movie. And it's especially cool for the budding little kiddy geek.

Igor is part of a sub-class of people whose only lot in life is to assist evil geniuses. But from the time he was a child he had dreamed of being an evil genius himself. He's a genius. He invented an immortal bunny and a talking brain. His latest invention, a giant frankenstein-esque girl who dances and sings is a shoe-in for the science festival.

I'm continually amazed with the artistic work that goes into computer generated animated movies now-a-days and Igor is no exception. It's one thing to say that you made your movie on a computer - it's quite another to come up with these stylized renderings with beautiful artwork that must have taken years to complete. Igor is no exception to this.

And the story is quite good, too. It has a few twists and turns which, I will admit, are exposed in a quite on-the-nose fashion, but, again, it is a kids movie at its core. I'm sure they wouldn't so much appreciate any more subtle a reveal. The characters are lovable even when they're evil and it all comes to a close with a heartwarming end. Also the use of "Tomorrow, Tomorrow" from Annie is brilliantly used as the background to a psychotic rampage. In minor key, of course. Brilliant!

9/6/08

W.

It's been slow on the geek movie front. Well, it's been slow on the move front in general, but especially on the geek movie front.

I just watched a trailer for Oliver Stone's movie W. It's about the life of one George Walker Bush. Guess who plays his dad, H.W....


That Guy!

The trailer is confusing. It doesn't really come right out with the point Stone is trying to make. It doesn't say if George became a good president. All it really says is that when he was younger he was pretty much a drunken red-neck fool. So... you can probably extrapolate a point from that beginning.

Anyway, geeks seem to be into politics now-a-days. At least they all are on Digg. It seems to be the type of thing that involves a lot of research and intelligence to get into. So, what do you think? Can W. be considered a geek movie? Post your comments below and cast your vote to the right.

8/23/08

The House Bunny: Geek Girls Gone Wild

Why It's a Geek Movie
Because The House Bunny features every geek's fantasy.  No, not the Playboy Bunny.  The hot geek girl.

What's it About?
Shelley, a Playboy Bunny, is lead to believe that the Hef doesn't want her around the mansion anymore because she's too old (27).  Lost and homeless, she stumbles upon the girls of the ZETA house sorority and becomes their house mother.  These are the unpopular geek girls who need 30 pledges in order to keep their house.  The only way they can get these pledges is if Shelley can teach them how to be awesome.

How to Appreciate It
This movie is one of those heart-warming comedies at which you just have to smile.  A sensitive cynic would come out of this movie puking, but, really, it's all just good fun, good morals and hot chicks.  This is the time to leave your grumpies at the door and just enjoy!

Is it Worth It?
As you may already have guessed, the moral of the story is learning to be yourself and not judge others based on superficial qualifications.  It's probably one of the cheesiest things to come out of Happy Madison Productions... which is saying a lot... but there are plenty of things at which to laugh.  It's refreshing to see good comedy coming from an all-female cast.  Girls cast in movies now-a-days tend to be... well... girly.  They're more serious or sexy, or if they're trying to be funny they're ditzy, but the girls of ZETA house pull off a wide range of comedy that make them seem more real - more like actual girls that you may see every day.

The House Bunny is a light comedy with a gooey caramel center.  Enjoy one today!

Death Race and the definition of Sci-Fi

I went into the new movie Death Race because it was billed as a sci-fi movie and, as such, would qualify it for a geek movie review.  Unfortunately, what I found when I watched it (as I expected from the previews) was that it was missing a quintessential part of sci-fi... the "sci" part.

I don't mean to split hairs here, really I don't, but it's just that... it's in the freaking name!  Just because something is set in the future does not make it science fiction.  Death Race is set in the 2020's where corporations run the prisons.  There's nothing scientific about it.  All the technology they use can be used today, there are no androids, no space ships, no Mars colonies, not even any deep-sea civilizations.  There is absolutely nothing that defies known science while explaining it scientifically.

See, that's what sci-fi is about.  Just like fiction defies reality, but explains it realistically, sci-fi defies science while being explained scientifically.  Then there's the whole realm of fantasy which defies both reality and science and doesn't bother to explain it at all.  But that's another rant.

This rant is about sci-fi and how people like the producers of Death Race seem to think that they can get away with labeling their movie sci-fi just because it's set in the future.  And the near future, at that!  I would be happy if it was several centuries off and they were racing space ships, but, no - it's just a normal race with armor-plated cars fit with powerful machine guns and missiles.  ::shrug:: That's it.  Not even a hover-car.  Just normal, rubber-meets-the-road cars!

The movie itself wasn't all bad, if action is something you're into.  As a matter of fact, the action was brilliant.  Kept me on the edge of my seat for nearly the entire movie.  Jason Statham was good for the part, except for the part where he's lived in America for nearly twenty years and still retains a perfect British accent...  The story held up pretty well.  The only complaint I have there is that there really wasn't much of a surprise until the end where it kind of felt like the writers thought to themselves "Oh, hey... remember those surprises that work so great in those other movies?  I think maybe we should throw some in here."  So there's my review - give it three stars and move along.  But since it wasn't sci-fi it wasn't really a geek movie.  That was the only thing it was holding on to.  Everything else is just your average action/thriller.

I just have one request for the doofuses who claim that these types of movies are sci-fi: don't.  Just don't.  No, really, don't.  It's fiction and nothing more.  Science isn't remotely a part of the equation.  There is no equation.  Just don't.

8/22/08

Stuff for the Dumbmasses

I'm here watching the previews for Death Race. I don't have high expectations for the movie but it's billed as sci-fi so I have to watch it. It looks like something that will appeal to the dumbmasses... As opposed to ThinkGeek's smartmasses. Giggle.

8/15/08

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Geek Requirements:
Sci-fi, nostalgia, animation, technology, magic.

What's it About?
Two men and a baby.  Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are charged, among all that is going on in the galactic civil war, to rescue a slimy little Hutt baby.  Right - Jabba's son.  They are joined by a padawan, Ahsoka Tano, a youngling straight out of... whatever school it is younglings go to, who is assigned to learn under Anakin.  Definitely not his coolest apprentice.

How to Appreciate It
Um...  You pretty much have to be a kid at heart.  I'm not gonna lie; this movie is pretty much geared toward a younger audience.  And not even like Shrek where it has stuff that adults can appreciate.  It's just juvenile all around.

Is it Worth It?
To say that seeing any incarnation of Star Wars is not worth it would be a lie.  The series has been engrained into the culture like a brand on cattle.  Not being caught up with all that is canon about Star Wars is grounds to revoke your geek license.  And in this instance, this is probably the best reason you're going to have to see Clone Wars.

I wasn't kidding when I said it was juvenile.  On-the-nose dialog, slapstick humor, wacky cartoon voices.  There's no Jar-Jar, but the battle droids pretty much took his place.  The only good thing about that is that you can constantly kill battle droids without getting on the bad side of a Jedi.  I knew I was headed for trouble when I saw that they decided to forgo the iconic scrolling text at the beginning in favor of AN ANNOYING ANNOUNCER VOICE THAT SOUNDS MORE IN PLACE IN ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE!  ::cough::  Excuse me...

But seriously!  How did that even make it past the editing room??

The action sequences could only partly make up for that HUGE blunder.  To compare this animated feature to the rest of the series, I would put it equal if not slightly below Episode II: Attack of the Clones.  The story was fair enough, you can never go wrong with the development of Star Wars characters, and the action in itself was flawless... it's just the subtle, annoying "humor" bits, the crap dialog and the frakkin ANNOUNCER VOICE that screwed this whole thing up for me.

Watch this on your TV so you can fast forward through the first minute or so.  Maybe if you do that your experience will be better than mine.

The best part of the night was this:

8/13/08

Back From The Tropic

I just finished watching Tropic Thunder. Clearly not technically qualified as a "geek" movie, but still frakkin' hillarious!! I may consider actually fully reviewing it dispite its non-geekness. What The Dark Knight did for superhero movies, Tropic Thunder did for comedy!

Posted with LifeCast

8/12/08

All New!

Thinking about doing a new format here with a checklist of geek requirements, but all photoshoppy and cool-looking. If you wanna help out just let me know. Also I'm going to do more posts about general geek culture besides just movies. Should be fun. Stay tuned!

Geolocate this post

Posted with LifeCast

8/1/08

The Mummy III?

Why It's a Geek Movie
Wait a minute... is it a geek movie? Sure it's got mummies... and it's pretty out there with the imagination factor... But when it comes right down to it, is this a movie that geeks will appreciate?

The whole Mummy series of movies is, at its heart, an action series. The whole mummy concept is just an excuse to get Brendon Frasier to run around a lot and shoot lots of bullets. To be fair, he does that pretty well. But in each movie they sacrifice character development for action and lame attempts at comedy.

I'm gonna say this one is kind of a geek movie. Because there's magic and mummies and yeti. But in the long run, this is probably a movie that mostly the rest of the general public will enjoy more than the geeks.

So, since it's not fully a geek movie I won't do a full review of it. But suffice it to say, I'd recommend seeing it if you like seeing Brendon Frasier run around a lot and shoot a lot of bullets.

7/25/08

X-Files: I Want to Believe... I really do


Why It's a Geek Movie
For years, the exploits of Moulder and Scully have been the fevered dreams of geeks across America. The hit TV show pit logic against the paranormal in a way that Spock and Kirk never dreamed. In X-Files, the imagination is captured and the intellect is engaged in a way that only a geek can truly appreciate.

What's it About?
Moulder and Scully have long since left the FBI, but after a psychic priest aids in the case of a missing FBI agent, the agent who takes the case believes that the duo is the only one with the experience to bring the case to a close.

How to Appreciate It
This most recent X-Files incarnation is an in-depth character study of Foxx and Dana and how they cope with life after the X-Files. It's unfair to expect that anyone who doesn't know these characters will immediately be interested in what's going on, but there is much to be appreciated about the movie in itself. If you're going into this movie expecting to see aliens and weird spectacles, you will be disappointed. This isn't fast-paced, in-your-face, scrawling sci-fi epic. This is an intelligent, nuanced drama about two people getting over the difficulties of the past and learning never to give up.

Is it Worth It?
In I Want to Believe, Moulder and Scully get back to their TV drama roots. It almost makes me wonder if this would have been better suited as a Sci-Fi Channel week-long miniseries. This particular story is more about Foxx and Dana than it is about paranormal activity. In fact, the only thing paranormal going on is the psychic abilities of the priest. This isn't nessisarily a bad thing. As I mentioned, it's an intelligent and nuanced character study. There is always something to be said for a story that digs more deeply into a person's character. It's a challenge for the actors and it's a exciting discovery for the watcher. I'm just not sure it's big-screen material this time around. People will be coming to see an X-Files title expecting aliens and ghosts and monsters and special effects along the lines of Star Wars or at least Close Encounters. They just won't get it. I really liked the movie, and I Want to Believe it will do well, but general audiences will probably want to wait for the DVD.

7/17/08

The Dark Knight: Movie = Hype

Why It's a Geek Movie
I think that's pretty clear by now.

What's it About?
It's about Batman...

How to Appreciate It
Watch it.

Is it Worth It?
Some critics are comparing The Dark Knight to award-winning crime dramas such as Good Fellas, Heat and The Untouchables. They're right. Some critics are calling for Heath Ledger to win a post-mortem Oscar for his performance as the Joker. They're right. Some critics say this is the best movie over all this year. They're right. There's really not much I can add to the hype. All I can tell you is to go watch it.

::disappears mysteriously::

7/11/08

Hellboy 2: WoW in Reverse

Why It's a Geek Movie
So about halfway through the movie I'm sitting there enjoying the demon, Hellboy, with a baby in his tail, shoot at an Elemental which was unleashed by an Elf prince when I realize... I'm watching the exact opposite of Warcraft! Here is a demon as the good guy and an Elf as the bad guy. A creature that most closely resembles a Naga and a fire mage team up with a blood-red demon to fight against an evil elf who rules over a kingdom of goblins, orcs, dwarves and all manner of mystical creatures... Next round, Redhorse Comics verses Blizzard Entertainment: FIGHT!

Also it's based on a comic book... I think we've been over this.

What's it About?
As I hinted above, the elf prince is trying to destroy the human race because he believes they have broken the treaty they signed ages ago that allowed the two worlds to live in peace, the humans in the cities and the mystical creatures in the forests. The forests are thinning, you see, and cities are growing more widespread. If the humans aren't stopped, the mystical creatures will have nowhere left to live. To do this, he seeks to unleash the Golden Army and only Hellboy and the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense can stop him.

How to Appreciate It
Hellboy is a fun flight of fancy, but I'm gonna have to concede that it's not for everyone. If you want to enjoy this movie you have to be the type of person who isn't afraid to dig into a Tolkien novel and bring these characters to the 21st century just for the heck of it. Oh, and, while you're at it, reverse everyone's role so that the evil is good and the good is evil. Just for the heck of it. In other words, you have to have a very... very active imagination.

Is it Worth It?
I mentioned in my defense for Hancock that its only real issue was that it was billed a comedy when it really wasn't as funny as we thought it should be. Well, here's an example of a movie that's not billed as a comedy that's freakin hilarious. Moral of the story: when in doubt, DON'T call your movie a comedy. Domestic dispute is not something we think about happening in a monster's life, but, evidently, demons are not immune!

I'm going to have to recommend this movie to anyone who wants a fun romp through a twisted, imaginative world. If you look closely there are details that will intrigue you, but if you just want to lay back and watch, there is an experience that will entertain you. Go ahead and check out Hellboy - it's worth the admission.

7/10/08

Max Payne International Trailer

Check out the movie trailer for the big screen video game adaptation of Max Payne, based on the legendary, hard-hitting interactive video game - starring Mark Wahlberg, Chris O'Donnell, Beau Bridges, Ludacris, Mila Kunis, Donal Logue, and Amaury Nolasco.

Although I've never played the game Max Payne, I believe this movie will be Happening much better than the last Mark Wahlberg movie. Especially with General Landry and Meg Griffin in it.

And I believe being a video-game based movie would classify it as a geek movie. So, hurray! I get to review it!

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7/2/08

What's With the Hate for Hancock?

So, evidently there are a lot of negative reviews about Hancock. I've read a couple and I understand their arguments, but I have to wonder if they ever actually thought about the plot before they went ranting. I'm going to try and untangle the web that these critics are weaving, but in the process I'm going to have to let loose a boat-load of spoilers, so if you haven't seen it, don't read past this paragraph. Suffice it to say that if you really think about what's going on, you will enjoy the movie.

Much of the criticism comes from wondering why such a fail-hero would would even try to help out at all. Alright, that's fair, I guess, if you look at it superficially. But I think it's a problem that can be solved by a single solution. A solution that also solves a second problem: why is he a fail-hero in the first place? Let me see if I can work through this with you...

John Hancock has lived for thousands of years with his wife, Mary. The two of them are part of a race of beings that are the origin of god mythology. When certain pairs of them get together, their powers are reduced, but still present. It's never explicitly stated that they are able to age when they're together (since they don't age when they're apart), but for the sake of this argument, I'd like to present that they still retain their eternal life so long as they don't get shot or hacked up or blown apart. So for part of their several-thousand-year life they had the powers of a god while for the rest of the time they were mere mortals who could live an awfully long time.

Let's say that for the first thousand years they played god with the rest of their race. But then after a while this race began to die off. When they figured out why, they decided to lay low. Hancock and Mary eventually fall deeply in love with each other. They get married and live quiet lives as long-living mortals for the next few thousand years. Hancock is happy, Mary is happy, they run into bumps along the way, but they generally live a comfortable life... for thousands of years.

Then suddenly it's the 1930's and they decide to go see a movie. On the way there they are attacked by muggers, Hancock is hit in the head and amnesia ensues. In the hospital, Mary decides that it's best for the both of them if they just stay apart. She moves on with her life and marries Ray... But Hancock, for the first time in THOUSANDS of years, is alone without a clue for who he is or what he is. Somewhere deep inside, Hancock is missing the one thing in his life that has kept his eternal existence stable and secure.

It doesn't take long for people to realize he has super-powers, so he decides he's a superhero. He thinks maybe this is his destiny and maybe this is what will make him happy. It fails. But he knows nothing else. So he continues. Meanwhile, the fact that he just doesn't care one iota about his own life (because he's missing something that he had for thousands of years) leads him to be sloppy in his crime-fighting, causing collateral damage of which a hurricane would be proud. Still, he's a natural-born protector, so he keeps on protecting.

Perhaps this carelessness causes Hancock to be sporadic in his rescue attempts. We open the movie with a child having to wake Hancock out of a deep sleep in order to stop some bad-guys. This leads me to think that maybe a lot of the crimes are just missed. Either because he's sleeping, nursing a hangover or just doesn't give a frak. Maybe this is why criminals believe they have a chance at getting away, and maybe this is why they believe they can challenge the superhero when he comes around. After all, it doesn't appear that he ever has the chutzba to actually kill anyone, so why not push the envelope a little and bluff their way out? The worst bodily harm he ever intentionally does to a person in the movie is cut their hand off. Of course, that's debatable... what he did to those two prisoners should never be attempted by anyone... ever...

So, Hancock has these superpowers and everyone knows about it. But they also know he's a jerk. I wouldn't be surprised if some people called him up once or twice and asked him to help out a little. He knows he's most people's only hope, so, true to his word, when people turn against him, he doesn't care what people think. I like to think that maybe sometimes he keeps up the superhero act out of spite. But why is he such a jerk? Why does he fail so badly at being a superhero? Because he's scarred and jaded by the decision of his only true love to leave him alone after thousands of happily married years. He may not remember who she is, but deep inside he knows something is missing. And it pisses him off that he can't figure out what.

A couple of mild arguments against the movie include that it doesn't know what kind of movie it is and that it's not really all that funny. Well, the movie has a lot to cover in order for us to get an idea of who Hancock is and who Ray is, but especially of the relationship between Hancock and Mary and what they decide to reveal to us about their past. I think the crossing between so many different "movies" reveals a depth of story-telling that is sadly lacking in much of modern media. It shows the characters are more than just images on a screen - they have more dimension than a lot of real people I know.

Really, the only argument that comes close to being valid is that it's not very funny. Don't get me wrong, though, there are some humorous parts. To be fair, however, there are humorous parts in Iron Man, which is not billed as a comedy. And I think that's the problem. The producers decided to call it a comedy when really it's more of an action/adventure. If they would have just called it that, then people would go to see it for the action and be pleasantly surprised by the light humor.

So there's my two cents worth... or... twenty dollars worth. Take it or leave it. I enjoyed Hancock and I think that most of America will like it, too. Maybe it won't win any awards, but when it comes down to it, it's all about entertainment value, and I think Hancock has a lot of it.

7/1/08

Hancock: Think Outside the Comic Book


Why It's a Geek Movie
Superheroes... plain and simple. He may not have been born in a comic book, but the idea itself was. Only a geek has the capacity to imagine the abilities, flaws and awesomeness of a superhero.

What's it About?
Hancock is a superhero living in L.A. He lives out of a trailer, has a problem with alcohol, doesn't remember anything past 80 years ago (oh, yeah, he doesn't age) and rescues people more out of obligation than of charity. As a result, his heroic efforts are often disastrous, leading the city to hate him and call for his incarceration. In the mix is thrown publicist, Ray Embrey, who helps Hancock clean up his public image as a favor in return for saving him from a train, and Ray's wife, who seems to have conflicting feelings regarding the superhero.

How to Appreciate It
...I'm trying to think of someone saying "This movie was the stupidest movie ever" and following that up with a good reason. With this movie we have successfully created a completely new and original superhero free from the bonds of established canon, but still holding to the expectations of superhero convention... while at the same time completely demolishing them. If you really wanted to hate this movie you could follow the tired argument that superheroes can never exist and could never be real, thus making stories about them stupid... but, really, when was the last time we saw a good movie that could actually happen?

Is it Worth It?
Hancock gives you a completely new and original story about an unconventional superhero. Not only is the story deep and compelling, but the effects are untraceable, the cinematics are beautiful and the acting is both fitting and convincing. My personal vow to not give anything away forbids me from revealing too much about the plot, but I can tell you that the details of Hancock's past are what kept me glued to the dialog. I had to know what was going on, and when it was revealed, it not only satisfied, but left me hungry for more! Needless to say, Hancock is wide open for a sequel.

Yes, it's worth it. Even if it doesn't end up on your favorites list, you will still be entertained. Five completely arbitrary stars!

6/27/08

Wanted: Take Control

Why It's a Geek Movie
Pretty much the only thing besides a strong sense of sarcastic humor that obligates me to categorize this movie in the Geek file is the fact that it's based on a comic book.  If it weren't for those painstakingly drawn pages, I would have been forced to skip it and leave it up to those guys who get their jollies from action flicks.

What's it About?
Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is a nobody and he knows it.  That is until he meets Fox (Angelina Jolie).  She opens a door for him to an underground group of assassins called The Fraternity.  They tell him that his father, who was one of them, has been killed and his mission is to kill his father's killer.  Trained by The Fraternity and able to do amazing things with bullets, Wesley sets out on his quest... and finds the truth.

How to Appreciate It
This movie is bloody and irreverent, but it fittingly deals with the bloody and irreverent lifestyles assassins.  You pretty much have to go into it with that in mind.  A good rule of thumb is that if you don't want to see violence, don't see a movie about assassins.

If you can get past that, though, the story of Wanted gives a clear message about taking control of your life.  I'm sure most the people who go see this will be there for the eye-candy: bullet-time, car chases and... Angelina Jolie.  But if you're in it for something deeper, it's there.

Is it Worth It?
If you're in it for something deeper, it's there... but not clearly enough.  There's a great twist in the plot but not only does it take about three quarters of the movie to get to it, and not only is it one of the most predictable twists you could make, but it's pretty much the only twist.

That's about it for the storyline.  As far as the action goes, it's exciting, incredible and quite solid.  They didn't do anything wrong with that.  Every now and then they injected a couple CC's of biting, irreverent humor that will potentially make you laugh out loud.  So if you're just along for the ride, you'll probably enjoy it.  The rest is just kinda... meh.

What you take away from this movie is to take control of your life.  I'm pretty sure you can learn that in everyday life without all the killing.

6/26/08

Wall-E: Robots Have All the Fun

Why It's a Geek Movie
Sci-fi, robots, and gorgeous CGI. Doesn't get much geekier than that.

What's it About?
Humans have left earth after leaving it a complete wreck. So in the true nature of the human spirit, they hiked up their pants and... lazily left the cleanup to robots. Several Wall-E units were left behind to... evidently make humongous piles of organized trash and after 700 years only one unit is left operational. In the meantime, the fat, lazy humans buzzing around in their hover-chairs, sipping on meals and gawking at their holographic screens millions of miles away on the starship Axiom, send Eve probes to Earth every now and then to see if it is able to support life. That is when Eve meets Wall-E and finds what every robot longs for... a living plant. I mean love. Both, really... But her directive is to find life. When Eve is taken back to the Axiom, Wall-E desperately follows her, and when none of the humans believe she actually found life, the quest to prove herself begins.

How to Appreciate It
This is another movie that's difficult not to appreciate. It's hilarious, action-packed, and full of story. But if you're not into the whole cutesy thing, you might groan your way through. Suck it up! Be a man and admit that you chuckled when Wall-E cowered behind the rock that Eve shot a hole through!

Is it Worth It?
Wall-E is another Pixar triumph! I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS. From a general viewers standpoint, there was a lot to laugh about and a lot to gawk at. From a writer's standpoint, there was a whole universe of story going on besides the main plot. There was a backstory, a main story and several subplots that fit seamlessly into the main plot. The supporting robots were hilarious and helpful, the humans, though sadly misshapen from 700 years of letting robots do everything for them, were altruistic and willing to help once they knew what was going on, and the physics of space were spot-on...

Just like Mo was willing to jump his travel track to follow Wall-E, so you should consider making the effort to watch the robot yourself! I don't care if you don't have kids! Who said this was a kids' movie?? Just because it's animated doesn't mean it teaches you your ABC's! I don't care how old you are - go see Wall-E. You'll enjoy it.

6/20/08

Get Smart: That's the Second Greatest Spy Comedy I've Ever Seen

Why It's a Geek Movie
As I noted in the Indiana Jones review, nostalgia is a big part of geekdom. A geek will be one of the first to be able to tell you every line of dialog of every episode of every season of the original Get Smart TV show. Also, every geek longs to be a spy. Just admit it. C'mon. Really. I mean, if it's not a ninja or a pirate, a very close third is a spy.

What's it About?
Would you believe... a spy more manly and sexually potent than the combination of Peirce Brosnan, Sean Connery and Matt Damon put together? How about just one of them? How about a generally unlucky and geeky annalyst who happens to know what he's doing in the field?

Maxwell Smart is a analyst for Control, a spy agency that was "officially" disbanded at the end of the cold war. They still run covert operations keeping their rival, Kaos, on check. When the identities of all the field agents are revealed in a raid on the Control base, Max is promoted to field agent since no one knows who he is. This is his chance to prove himself to Chief and his hot partner, Agent 99.

Really, the plot is pretty simple to follow. Just like the TV show, it wasn't so much about the plot as it was about the laughs.

How to Appreciate It
If you're looking for a clone of Don Adams, you're not going to find it. This is not the Maxwell Smart you know and love. But at the same time, it absolutely is! Maxwell Smart was originally a spoof of James Bond. James Bond, along with his charm, is best known for his older movies - the ones that represent the sixties and seventies pretty well. What they tried to do, and what, in my opinion, they succeeded in doing with this movie is to take the same idea and apply it to an updated anchor - Jason Borne. The Borne Identity represents our current era much better than any thought of Dr. No or The Spy Who Loved Me. But along with this updated vision, they still had a comic legacy to maintain from the original Get Smart. Well not only would it totally not fit for Steve Carrell to do a spot-on Don Adams impression in the middle of a realistic Borne Identity spoof, but it would do the original a disservice. To appreciate this movie, understand that updating a classic means giving and taking. In the end, you're going to have to end up taking it as it is... and loving it.

Is it Worth It?
To be honest, I don't think I've ever laughed any harder at a Steve Carrell movie! Don't get me wrong, I love the guy and think he's hilarious, but that's just how good this particular project was. Maybe it was the combination of hilarity and nostalgia, but at one point I think I almost ran out of breath. I honestly believe that if Zombie Don Adams rose from his grave and saw this movie he would break one of his brittle, decaying ribs from laughter before brutally devouring the rest of the audience. And then maybe he'd grab for someone, slip on some buttery popcorn on the floor, fall to the ground and say "Missed it by that much!" The guy would laugh... and it would be the last laugh he ever laughed.

Enough about Zombie Don Adams. You will enjoy this movie more than any zombie could ever dream of enjoying any piece of art. Go see it now and I will personally guarantee that you will enjoy it or my money back.

6/13/08

The Incredible Hulk: Hulk DOES Smash!


::blink:: Wait, hold on...

Let me catch my breath...

::INHALE:: ... ::exhale::.... Ok... ok, I think I'm good... Let's do this.

Why It's a Geek Movie
I think we covered this in the Iron Man review. Movies based on comic book characters will always be in the geek realm.

What's it About?
Bruce Banner, a scientist who creates a process by which he believes humans can prevent radiation poisoning, ends up fudging his experiment by turning himself blah blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda - we all know about the Hulk. He's the big green guy who smashes things. The government wants him as a weapon and he just wants to get rid of his little anger problem. The real story this time, though, is that a power hungry dude is after the same kind of power the Hulk has. He turns himself into The Abomination and epic city-smashing ensues.

How to Appreciate It
Let's get this clear from the get-go... Hulk (2003) is to The Incredible Hulk (2008) as Batman (1989) is to Batman Begins (2005). The two movies have absolutely nothing to do with each other... and that's a good thing. It's an incredibly good thing. One might say it's an awesome thing. So if your grief with this movie is that the last one didn't fare too well, then get over yourself and go to the theater now.

If you're going to be nit-picky you're probably going to pick out how in the world any kind of process can randomly generate more mass than it began with since Bruce seems to get heavier as he transforms... Ok, so the physics are off... since when has that stopped us from enjoying a good action flick, eh? Suspend your disbelief for a while and enjoy the ride!

Is it Worth It?
In case you haven't caught it by now, the answer is yes. The CG is flawless, the storyline is deep enough to enjoy, but shallow enough to follow, the acting is convincing and the cameos... Oh, the cameos! But I won't spoil anything for you. You probably already know what people make appearances, but in case you don't, I won't spoil it.

The best part of this movie is the action! It jumps right into the action by by-passing the long, drawn-out origin story by way of a montage in the opening credits. We see Banner sitting in his experiment chair, changing a bit, smashing a bit, then running away. We're left with a good impression of how this all started so we can jump right into the real story: how he can stop it.

The best part about the story in general (besides the movie) was how it ties in with the universe of Iron Man. Hints are dropped here and there and then your mind is blown at the very end. That's all I'll say.

Yes it's worth it! Go see it now! OR I SMASH!

6/6/08

Kung Fu Panda: Prepare for Awesomeness


Why It's a Geek Movie
Kung Fu. The ancient Chinese martial art masters both mind and body, and while most geeks only have a handle on some of the mind part, it's no secret that a true geek gawks at a Kung Fu master with the greatest of respect, admiration and awe. And he dreams every night that he can do the same things.

And, of course, geeks have a special brand of humor that, while not exclusive to them, is appreciated the most by them. It's the perfect blend of stupidity and intelligence. Where dull as a hammer and sharp as a needle meet, you will find the awkward silences, the thudded facepalms and the absurd exaggerations that make geeks guffaw. Jack Black and the team that put this film together seem to understand this brand of humor better than a lot of people.

What's it About?
Po, the panda, works at a noodle shop with his father (a goose?) and dreams of becoming the greatest Kung Fu master of all time. Of course, he never believes this dream will come true until Oogway accidentally chooses him as the Dragon Master and the only one capable of defeating Tai Lung, a dangerous Kung Fu master who once sought to be the Dragon Master himself. The story revolves around having to form this flabby, pathetic excuse for a fighter into a warrior by believing in his own capabilities and being trained in the manner for which he is most suited: through food.

How to Appreciate It
Why are adults turned off by cartoons?? I don't get it! It's like just because it's animated it's for kids! Anime totally blows that theory out of the water...

To appreciate this movie you have to get over the fact that it's about a village full of talking animals. Kung Fu itself uses different animals to represent different styles of fighting. In the same way, animals can be representative of various character types, just as in Kung Fu Panda. Yes, it's animated, but it also has a rich storyline and hilarious comedy. Animation is not exclusive to children - that's a just a fact you're going to have to face.

Is it Worth It?
Most definitely. I'm not even going to ad an "if" to that - if you go to see it, you will not regret it... crap, that was an "if."

The animation is beautiful, the voice acting is real, the storyline is rich and as vibrant as the jaw-dropping scenery. What I was most surprised by is the cast. Of course Jack Black plays the part of Po, but this film also boasts such names as Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan! Who knew?!

Of course, I was watching it from a writer's perspective, meaning I was paying the closest attention to the story. It did not disappoint! As always, I will not ruin the story for you, but suffice it to say that depth was not a problem in this 3D-modeled movie!

Kung Fu Panda has my approval! If you see anything this summer, see Iron Man... and then Kung Fu Panda.

6/5/08

Steve Also Reviews Movies

I've totally been shown up by Jen Reviews Movies. I thought I could get away with just posting reviews when the movie comes out, but she's got so much more! Including a potentially embarrassing picture of Eric Bana.


I shall not be out-done! I need a video camera... Where's my video camera? ...Where's my money to buy a good video camera?

::finds webcam::

...::cough::... where's my video camera??

5/21/08

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Yeah, I'm Old, So What?

Why It's a Geek Movie
I'm trying to work on an all-inclusive definition of the term "Geek Movie." Whatever it ends up being, it's definitely going to have within it something about imaginative stories and nostalgia. This movie definitely has both. Geeks have an uncanny ability to be more imaginative than most. Find the most creative people on the planet and they'll usually turn out to be the biggest geeks. And they would be able to go on for hours about their favorite movie or TV show that they first saw when they were a little kid. Imaginative stories and nostalgia - this is at the heart of the newest installment of the Indiana Jones legacy.

What's it About?
Henry Jones Jr. has grown older and wiser from the adventures in his younger years. Part of those adventures includes an unseen foray into World War II where he evidently fought as, at one point, a double-agent. The movie opens, however, with him in the trunk of a car. The evil Russian Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) has abducted him in order to find something that she believes is in Area 51. She brings him to an awfully familiar-looking huge storage facility filled to the brim with wooden boxes. Both Irina and the audience both find what they're looking for. Irina exits the facility with her alien corpse and during the action sequence that brings Indy out of this mess, a box breaks open revealing what the audience is looking for: the Ark of the Covenant. But don't worry, the Ark has nothing to do with the rest of the story. We're just acknowledging that it is, indeed, the same place.

When Indy is fired from the university because of possible communist ties, he meets up with a boy who says his mother told him that Indy can help him find his beloved archeologist friend who was also Indy's friend. When Indy agrees, he's thrust into a another wild adventure the likes of which not even the great Indiana Jones has ever seen before.

How to Appreciate It
Watch it.

Is it Worth It?
In short, yes. It doesn't matter what your take on movies is, when you watch an Indiana Jones movie it is pure entertainment, and this is no exception. It's probably the funniest movie out of the four, of course this time it has the other three to which to refer back in its comedy. That's not to say it's dependent on the others, but knowing the others sure helps. Aside from the comedy is the relentless action that we've come to expect from Harrison's most beloved character. (Ooo... that's tough... Indy or Han?)

The story is what has me thinking, though. If you didn't catch it from the "alien corpse" thing above, there's a lot of stuff going on that is quite new to Indiana Jones. Sure, Indy has always dealt with the supernatural. He has uncovered the Ark of the Covenant, he drank from the Holy Grail, he even almost got his heart ripped out non-surgically... But aliens? Never aliens... Time will tell if aliens were a good addition to the saga. I personally think it was handled beautifully, though. Some people may differ, but I ask them to take the movie for the movie's sake. Just because there haven't been aliens in previous Indy movies, does that make it a bad movie as a whole? Not at all. The Indiana Jones saga is all about an archeologist whipping communist butt while making hilarious, dry quips about his situation. And that's exactly what he did.

5/16/08

Prince Caspian: Random Bear FTW

If you've seen an episode of Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, then you may remember seeing the Random Bear. He shows up every now and then to do something awkward and garner some nervous laughter... Well, he must have a magical wardrobe or something, because somehow he found his way into Narnia. About three quarters of the way into the movie we finally recognize him. Perhaps it would have been better if he had never spoken. But the biggest laugh of the film comes from when Random Bear says "For Aslan!" He sounds like a retarded hobo. And I don't know whether it's because now that I've recognized him for what he is I see him everywhere, but it seems like he's in absolutely every scene after that awkward moment whether he belongs or not.

Why It's a Geek Movie
Fantasy is the domain of the geek. It seems the higher the intelligence, the more apt one is to imagine those things that cannot happen. If ever there was a geekier Christian than C. S. Lewis, I don't know where to find him.

What's it About?
In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, four children find a magical land after traveling through a wardrobe and through an exciting turn of events, they become Kings and Queens of Narnia. Turns out time travels quite a bit faster in Narnia than on Earth. When the kids go back a year later, hundreds of years have passed in Narnia, a human kingdom has invaded and taken over Narnia and the rightful heir to the throne has a price on his head set by his uncle who craves the crown. It's up to Peter, Susan, Edmond and Lucy to reclaim Narnia for the Narnians and hand its rule over to the rightful king: Caspian.

How to Appreciate It
I never actually read this book, though I did read the first one. It seems with any book-turned-movie there are a few things to consider. They are not going to be exactly the same, that's just a given. In order to appreciate any of these kinds of movies, one has to take a tip from Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He has had his story turned into a series of novels, a radio show series, a video game, a TV series and a movie and every time it's almost completely different from the first time. But Douglas doesn't mind that at all. Adams treats every incarnation of the story as a new story in itself. And this is how to appreciate any adaptation: realize that when you go into a theater, it's not to read a book, it's to watch an entirely different story on the big screen. Try to appreciate the movie for itself, and forget about whether or not it's anything like the book.

Is it Worth It?
Have you ever known someone who's accidentally wronged you and apologized profusely afterwords? Did this person also come up to you several times after you'd forgiven them and apologized some more? And then, after a while, did he start apologizing for apologizing so much? If you have, then you're starting to get the idea of the bulk of this movie. The first one was criticized as being too boring, so they tried to beef up the action in this one. And beef it up they did. Almost every single scene of the first half of the movie there was some kind of useless conflict going on. I didn't mind at first, but it started to get to the point where it was kind of silly. All things considered, though, it's still got my approval. If you can get past the profuse apologies, it's worth it in the end to laugh at the Random Bear.

5/10/08

Speed Racer: Anime in 3-D

Why It's a Geek Movie
Anime is a staple genre of geek programing third only to sci-fi and fantasy (with a plethora of crossing over between these three). The original Speed Racer TV program is a staple of the anime genre. While the popular kids were vegging out to Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear and The Flintstones, early geek anime lovers' eyes were fixed on Speed's lovable baby-face. (Wait, did that make me sound gay?)

What's it About?
Speed Racer is an altruistic racecar driver whose family has suffered a terrible tragedy with the death of Speed's older brother Rex in a terrible racing "accident." He soon discovers that this death is likely part of a plot by large sponsor corporations to control and profit from racing when he's approached by one of these slimy corporate dogs. Determined to bring racing back to a purer state and motivated by the memory of his brother, Speed enters the Grand Prix, a race that has been fixed by the corporations for years, and attempts to bring them down by winning fair and square and exposing their deceptive methods.

...Also, who the heck is Racer X?

How to Appreciate It
Let's face it: if you can't appreciate the campy style of anime, you're not likely to be able to appreciate this movie. The Wachowskis translated the tension, the energy and the campy humor of 2-D anime perfectly into a 3-D, live action model. The trick to appreciating this movie is to realize you're not watching anything like you've ever seen ever before. This is something completely new, completely revolutionary - not at all what you're used to, no matter what you've seen in the past. This is not the real world, but at the same time it's not a cartoon world. It's really more like a cartoon world, but it has depth in both spirit and dimension. Don't go into Speed Racer expecting another action movie. You get a boat load of action, but it's more family oriented and... well, cartoony. To appreciate this movie, you have to realize that that's ok!

Is it Worth It?
When you can appreciate Speed Racer for what it is, then the action draws you in, the tension draws you forward and the story draws your interest. The campy comedy is a great break in tension every now and then and it comes at perfect points. It's definitely worth it for fans of the show and definitely worth it for those who are willing to suspend their disbelief and engage their imagination.

But if you have no imagination, then it's gonna be stupid.

5/1/08

Iron Man: The Truth Is...

Why It's a Geek Movie
Well, that's pretty simple. Ever since the word "geek" was coined in the 1950's, it has been consistently applied to the kind of person who reads comic books. Of which Iron Man is one. However, there is another reason. The gadgets! Tony Stark's awesome suit is nothing without its liberal use of fancy gadgetry.

What's it About?
The plot's pretty simple, really. Tony Stark is pretty much the rock star of the weapon-making business. He's a womanizing egomaniac who lives in a multi-billion-dollar home in Malibu filled with all kinds of fancy, custom-made computerized wizardry. He's the head of Stark Industries which is the world-leader in weapons development. One day he is traveling through the desert after a well-executed weapons demonstration when he and his caravan are attacked by an unknown enemy using his own weaponry. The group forces him to recreate the weapon he had just demonstrated, but instead he creates a mechanical suit and escapes.

The ordeal changes his mind about his business and from the on out he's out to do the right thing. His goal now is to protect the world from the weapons he created. By creating the awesomest weapon of all... a red suit... that flies... and fires missiles... and... a bunch of other stuff.

There is one little twist to the plot, though... how did the group who kidnapped him come to get so many Stark Industries weapons? If you read the comic book, you probably know, but don't spoil it for the rest of the kids! The answer to this question is what leads to the ultimate showdown in the end.

But don't worry, Tony Stark doesn't let his sudden burst of altruism get to his head. The casting of Robert Downey Jr. for Stark couldn't be more perfect! His dry comedy and stone-faced delivery brings Tony's egomaniacal rock stardom to life! And even though he's doing good now, he still has that same sense of awesome.

How to Appreciate It
Iron Man is a difficult movie not to appreciate. However, there are some points at which some viewers may seem a bit alienated. Geeks will have no problems at all, but for those who aren't used to the more fantastical elements of sci-fi and super-heroism, it may behoove you suspend your disbelief for just a moment and focus on what's really going on here... This is a story about one man's struggle to overcome the highest barrier anyone could errect: himself. Tony Stark had to have a life-changing experience that almost killed him to bring him to the point where he realized where he was going wrong. All the flashy gadgets and the awesome effects are just frosting on the cake. The real story is the one that's going on inside Tony's shiny, glowing heart.

Is it Worth It?
YES! By all means, if you don't have any plans this weekend... heck, even if you do have plans, squeeze in Iron Man! I said it before, but it deserves a repeat: The casting of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark couldn't be more perfect! Even if you're not normally an RDJ fan, you will be a Stark fan. His personality is as magnetic as the little device that keeps him alive. You will laugh at pretty much everything he says and does. I don't think I've ever laughed so much at a movie that wasn't pegged as a comedy.

And may I say, the final line of dialoge in this movie is, in context, perhaps the best line of dialog ever spoken in any blockbuster movie. If for some foolish reason you go to see any other movie this weekend, peek your head into Iron Man for the final press conference. That alone will give you a good taste for the movie.

4/30/08

Let the Festivities Begin!

Tomorrow at 11:59pm Iron Man will make its first official showing on the big screen. This kicks off the beginning of the summer blockbuster movie season! The season that has me so incredibly excited! There will be Iron Man, Get Smart, The Incredible Hulk, and a wide assortment of other Geek movies (as well as some pretty awesome non-geek movies) that I will have the opportunity to see.

Because of this, and to add a bit of officialism to the blog, I've added a couple new features. In a couple of days you'll be able to find the blog as a podcast in the iTunes store. This means that for those of you who hate to read I will be reading my reviews for you and you can listen to them on your computer or on your iPod. Also, reviews are going to take on more of an organized structure. There will be sections on why the movie is a geek movie, what it's about and if it's worth it. There will also be a section that I believe is crucial to movie enjoyment. There are a lot of people who go into a movie expecting one thing, but then believe that it sucks merely because it gives them something entirely different, when, in fact, the entirely different thing was actually quite good! (See Cloverfield.) Because of this phenomenon, I'm adding to my reviews a section on how to appreciate the movie I'm reviewing. Hopefully this will get more people into the movie that wouldn't normally go to see it.

So far this year has been great and it isn't even summer yet! I'm sure Iron Man, as the opening movie to the summer, will not disappoint. Save your stubs!

4/19/08

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Blogging for me today is my sister, Jenni, who happened to see Expelled, Ben Stein's documentary on Creationism, before I did. Expelled is a geek movie because the debate between Creationism vs. Evolution tends to get very intellectual and usually only attracts those who are devoted to one or the other subject. Such devotion is worthy of geekdom. So, without further adieu, here's Jenni:


"Then you have the creationists who say God put all the animals on the ark and that's where all the animals came from," said one of the many scientists interviewed in Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Funny. I always thought that God created the animals long before the events surrounding the Ark. Apparently, this scientist seems to think otherwise. But I digress.

Steve said it right. There are debates everywhere about Creation vs. Evolution. The strange thing is, throughout the movie Stein consistently preferred the term "Intelligent Design." This being a documentary, it follows Ben Stein on his journey to discover why renowned scientists are being asked to resign or outrightly kicked out of their positions or closely scrutinized at the first mere mention of Intelligent Design (ID), as if the debate were a proverbial Berlin Wall. "You have academic freedom, as long as your ideas are on the right side of the wall." According to the Internet Movie Database, Expelled took on the explanation of how "under a new anti-religious dogmatism, scientists and educators are not allowed to even think thoughts that involve an intelligent creator."

The first scientist introduced was the one Stein said started his whole journey of discovery. This scientist, who worked for the Smithsonian Institute, published an article mentioning ID, and, like the Thought Police of Orwell's 1984, his superiors were all over him, asking him questions about his religious beliefs, his personal agenda, and so on. It seemed like just seeing the words "intelligent" and "design" automatically put in their heads the words "religious" and "terrorist," which is how said scientist said he was described.

It is no secret that Ben Stein is a Jew. What really clinched the whole plot line in was when he, through his interviews, discovered the connection between Darwinism (Evolution) and Nazism. One of the scientists said to him that, although Mein Kampf and The Origin of Species were written in different countries, "when you open up Mein Kampf, you automatically see some of the same ideas."

I won't spoil all of the arguments for you, but suffice it to say, Ben Stein poses many important questions that scientists are many times not allowed to ask. But, since science is about academic freedom, shouldn't they be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it leads?

Thanks, Steve. I hope you get to see the movie soon.

4/17/08

For Those Who Care About Steve

I'm making a new blog that covers my personal life and thoughts. It just feels weird posting those kinds of things on a blog which has essentially become a movie blog specifically for Kerusso Productions. If you care more about my life than movie reviews, I suggest keeping up with the Daily Steve as I will be posting all that kind of stuff there and leaving this blog for movie/Kerusso stuff.

4/5/08

Induction

The Setting:

The Blood Elves have thus far used the Horde as a means to an end. In their quest to follow their leader, Kael'Thas, to the Outlands, and betrayed by the humans of the Alliance, they have allied themselves with their closest neighbors, the Forsaken, to traverse the perilous way to the Dark Portal.

But now Kael'Thas Sunstrider has betrayed them by allying with the Burning Legion. Their paladins' source of light has been stolen and the Sunwell rebuilt to bring to Azeroth none other than Kil'Jaeden, ruler of the Burning Legion. Seeking retribution, the Sin'Dorai turn to the Horde to be officially recognized once and for all as part of the congregated nations.

Representative Mae'Than of the Sin'Dorai approaches the counsel lead by Cairn Bloodhoof and makes his case for why the Blood Elves should be officially accepted into the Horde.







[Download here]


--
This was to show off my voice-acting talent and my story-telling talent. The Blood Elves may already be official Hordies, but this is how the counsel went in my mind.

3/29/08

Drillbit Taylor: Bums, Geeks, and Evil Bullies

I was reluctant to call this movie a geek movie at first, but after watching it I realize... these kids are just about as geeky as it comes. Drillbit Taylor is about Wade and Ryan who are starting their first day at high school. When they arrive they are promptly hazed and kicked around by the local bully, Filkins. Determined to start a new, popular life in high school, they decide to hire a body guard to keep Filkins in check.

Enter Owen Wilson, aka Bob Taylor, aka Drillbit Taylor, aka Alamo Taylor (I'm still likin' the sound of that...). Drillbit Taylor is a bum. Simple as that. He steals what he eats, begs for money on the street corner and showers naked at a public beach. When he decides he wants to move to Canada, he realizes he's going to need to hit something big. Maybe even possibly get a job. And he finds the perfect one: body guard for a couple of high school freshman geeks. They hire him because... well, he's the only one out of the many they interviewed that they can afford.

Disguised as a substitute teacher, Drillbit infiltrates the kid's school and falls in love with their English teacher who has a problem will falling for bums and thinks Drillbit, aka Dr. Illbit, is exactly the kind of guy she needs to fall away from that destructive habit.

This is your basic "be yourself" and "stand up for what's right" movie, but it's the kind of story that's never really been told. Drillbit is a villainous con artist at first, but finds more to live for than just money and the promise of the frozen north. Wade and Ryan are geeky wusses at first, but learn to stand up for themselves and tackle high school head-on. The story is solid and I'm quite fond of it.

The only problem I found was that, billed as comedy, it could have been a bit funnier. Don't get me wrong - it was hilarious. Especially if you catch subtle, sarcastic humor. The problem is that a lot of people don't. And those people are likely to walk out of the movie with a warm feeling for the story, but the smile on their faces won't be from laughing too much.

Drillbit's a winner for me. If subtle humor is your thing, you'll like it, too. In the end, it all comes down to how awesome your pseudonym is.

21: Sexy Geeks in Los Vegas

21 is based on the true story of Ben Campbell, an MIT student who wants to get into Harvard Medical. The only way he can do that is with a free-ride scholarship. And the only way he can get the free-ride scholarship is if he has an interesting story to tell. Actually, there's another way he can get the money for Harvard... by counting cards in Vegas.

Ben is the kind of guy that has his life all mapped out. And that's the problem. Having obsessed over getting into Harvard his entire scholastic life, he missed out on any life experience that would have been good to write about in his essay for the grant he needs. Luckily for him, he's good with numbers. Very good. His professor at MIT, Mickey Rosa, recognizes this talent and gives him a proposition: come make huge amounts of money with us in Vegas by counting cards in Blackjack and you won't need a scholarship. Ben is reluctant because he has other responsibilities that he set up for himself in Boston so he can't possibly go to Vegas every weekend, but the allure of accomplishing his Harvard dreams and hooking up with the impossibly sexy genius, Jill Taylor, who's also on the card counting team, eventually baits him.

This movie was a great story. Watching someone play cards isn't necessarily all that exciting, but the cinematography used to hype you up over simple math is astonishingly effective. You feel nervous when Ben is nervous and you feel excited when Ben is excited. You fall in love with Jill Taylor just as Ben does and you feel awkwardly embarrassed when she rejects his first kiss. The music, I found, helped a lot with this empathy. A pumping, driving techno beat helped you to feel nervous when Ben was doing nothing more than walking through a security scanner at the airport.

What was really interesting about it, though, was how sexy all the math geeks were. Math geniuses have come a long way from Raymond Babbitt, evidently. The robotics geeks, however, are the ones who look like they should be geeks. These are Ben's real friends with whom he started a project to make a self-driving car.

All in all, the dialog was real, the story was fetching and there was a twist at the end that was both surprising and extremely rewarding. 21 is a movie that not just geeks will like, but pretty much anyone who's looking for some good Vegas fun.

3/7/08

10,000 BC: 10,000 Wins

I don't know where to begin praising this movie.

Let me start by saying that these aren't cavemen. Not only do they not live in caves, but they're a bit more sophisticated than the typical caveman picture. The tribe the hero, D'Leh, lives in has created shelter from the bones and skin of the mammoths which they hunt. This tribe has a spiritual matriarch, Old Mother, who prophesied that a young girl with blue eyes who was found near her tribe would lead them to a new land. The tribe of this young girl, Evolet, was destroyed, the people taken as Egyptian slaves. And from the very beginning D'Leh and Evolet are in love.

The story really gets going when the same "four-legged demons" (men on horseback) that ransacked Evolet's tribe comes for D'Leh's tribe. Most of the tribe is taken, including Evolet, and D'Leh is left with two others to go and find her.

What really wins me over in the telling of this story is how they use the fact that we know more than these primative people to their advantage. D'Leh tells Evolet that she is like the North Star, which he merely calls a "light in the sky." He says "every other light in the sky moves across sky, but that one stays put." He tells Evolet that she will stay with him in his heart. Later in the movie, they are following what the viewer will assume to be the Nile up toward Egypt. They take a short cut through the dessert and end up going in circles for days until D'Leh decides to follow Evolet's star.

The whole story is beautifully woven in this way. Prophesies and spirituality woven together with factual realities in a way that makes you chuckle when you realize you've just learned along with a prehistoric, uncivilized mammoth hunter that demons are just guys on horses. But they also added an element that is sometimes lacking in a rough, rugged hero like D'Leh. They added heart. There is a moment near the end where, for the love of his woman, D'Leh breaks down in front of his entire army and cries. From the very beginning it's clear that D'Leh is not a leader because he wants to be. He is only a leader because of Evolet. He doesn't run off to save his and several other tribes to prove his manhood and gain the respect of all nations. He does it to save his woman. D'Leh could easily have made the ranks of Sparta, but he would have been alienated by 300's pure, unmitigated testosterone. D'Leh teaches modern men that even cavemen cry sometimes.

10,000 BC wins my approval. It has the blood-pumping testosterone levels of 300 with the heart of Cloverfield mixed with a smattering of genius story telling. Also there are Hawkstriders. Big, mean, carnivorous Hawkstriders. So WoW + Cloverfield + 300 = 10,000 BC = Win.

3/6/08

Caption Contest!



Above you see a slide show of all the pics featured here (unless you're using some lame RSS reader that doesn't like Flash). Some of them have captions and some of them don't. It's up to you whether the established caption stays and what any new captions say! Post a caption as a comment on any picture you like and the best caption of them all will be the new one! Your prize is the glory of a thousand Diggs. Not the actual Diggs themselves, but the glory that comes with them.

Thoughts on 10,000 BC

So, tonight I'll be seeing 10,000 BC which, according to the title, takes place in an era of time which, according to fundamentalist believers, is the absolute earliest time earth could possibly have been around. How do you think this movie will impact the debate between evolution vs. creation? And is it me or does the story seem very similar to that of Moses? Discuss!

2/26/08

My power went out so...

My power went out so I'm updating the video phone via Jotts.com. I just wanted to update that I added a little note on the side that allows you to contact me via Google talk even if you don't have Google talk. You can click on chat with Steve Beaudry(?) when you see that I'm online and available and it'll contact me right away and I'll be able to talk to you. So, talk to me soon, that's it. listen

Powered by Jott

Update...
Wow, I guess Jott has a few kinks to work out in their speech-to-text program. You can hear what I'm saying pretty clearly in the audio link, but, to be clear, I don't have a video phone and it's Jott.com, not Jotts.com. "The video" was supposed to be "via"... dunno how that happened.

Anyway, the point is that this chat feature that Google Talk added is what I've wanted ever since they introduced the Talk Gadget. Click to talk to me and you don't even have to log on to Google Talk - you just start a chat with me. Cool, eh?