Monday, December 31, 2012

10 Best movies of 2012

Here we stand, having survived the apocalypse and ready to begin another year on this planet. And as we struggle to rebuild our society after being decimated by the zombie uprising, I have decided that the time has come to give you the countdown of the 10 best movies of the year. And, just to throw a fast one at you, I've decided that I am going to leave off The Hobbit, The Avengers, and The Dark Knight Rises from the countdown. Why? Well, for starters, you guys already knew that I would list them, and on top of that, I'm not the only one who is doing that either. So here they are, my top ten movies of 2012. And a little reminder, these are not the movies that I found artistically brilliant or groundbreaking, these are just the movies that I enjoyed the most. A few of them I list because the made me piss myself I was laughing so hard. So, here we go


10. Lawless- A movie with pure badassness and not much else, even Shia LaBeouf had some cool moments
9. Ted- One of the funniest movies of the year and it only gets funnier when I watch it again, it may take a spot on my favorite comedies actually
8. Wreck-it Ralph- Another Pixar gem to make up for any shortcomings from Brave. This is definitely in the top 3 for Pixar movies for me
7. Paranorman- A movie I only heard about a week before I saw it, this stop motion homage to classic zombie and slasher flicks is another one that had me laughing myself silly
6. Frankenweenie- Tim Burton reminds us why stop motion is such a cool form of animation with this homage to horror flicks like Frankenstein and Dracula, among others. It also makes up for Dark Shadows.
5. Les Miserables- A star studded movie adaptation of one of the most beloved musicals of all time, great work done by all
4. Lincoln- I honestly think they should show Lincoln in history classes. It's a very well made movie with an absolutely superb performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, who I am sure will get the Oscar nod for his work here
3. Skyfall- The best of the Daniel Craig Bond films, and one of the best Bond films overall. It's seriously up there with From Russia with Love
2. Django Unchained- Quentin Tarantino doing a western. That is all. PS- Dr. King Schultz is one of the most badass characters in any western
1. Cabin in the Woods- Yet another salute to horror flicks, although this is probably more of a satire than a salute. Either way, it has a creative premise and sets it up to not have any sequels, but to have a million prequels and tie-ins.


Stay tuned for my 10 worst movies of 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Les Miserables


Also known as A Guy Steals a Loaf of Bread and Shit Goes Down

Back at the Oscars in 2009 when Hugh Jackman was hosting, there was a moment when he declared that the musical had returned, being that there were so many musicals coming out at the time. Here's the problem, they all sucked. For all the musicals that were coming out one after another, few were actually memorable, even if at all good. With that said, let's talk about Les Miserables, which has had a ton of hype behind it for the past year. Let's do a run down: You have one of the most beloved stage musicals of all time with a cast that includes Hugh Jackman, one of the most famous broadway and film stars there is, Anne Hathaway, who we discovered, almost on accident that she could sing. You've got Russell Crowe playing Javert, who a lot of people didn't even know could sing, and Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter playing the comic relief characters. And on top of that, you have an Oscar winning director at the helm.

On top of that, this was also one of the first movies to have all of there actors sing the vocals live as opposed to recorded then lip synched, a very risky move that would either make or break the movie. So, did it live up to the hype?

I'd say that it did. Keep in mind, I'm not much into musical theater, so I can't really critique it as a musical, but as a movie, I thought it was really well done. The cast all did their parts beautifully, especially Sacha Baron Cohen who I think was the best casting choice when it came to him singing "Master of the House". It's just so over-the-top and weird that you'd have to be a fool to not cast him as the part. The rest of the cast was just as good, I would be surprised if one or not both Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway received Oscar nominations. And Russell Crowe, even though he seemed a bit uncomfortable singing at first, really grows into the part of Javert and by the time he sang his solo "Stars", I thought he sounded really good. Keep in mind, he's an actor first, and a singer second. I would say his only problem was that he didn't benefit from singing live. The rest of the cast did a good job, though I feel like Eddie Redmayne may have been trying too hard at some parts. I guess my only complaint about the movie is that I didn't realize that 99% of it was all sung which again, not a bad thing, seeing as how the music is good and the cast does a good job singing it. As for singing live, even though Russell Crowe struggled at the beginning, I think it really helped the movie because since, with the exception of Hugh Jackman, the cast has more experience acting then singing, it allowed them to focus on their acting while also focusing on their singing at the same time rather than recording it a few months in advance and already having to make their acting choices a few months before they are even on camera. And the emotions of some of the actors, particularly Anne Hathaway felt really genuine and not forced or over exaggerated.

Now keep in mind, this is a long ass movie, clocking in at about 3 hours. But again, I never minded really long movies, so I don't care. Though I will say my ass began to feel a little numb by the time they sang "One Day More", but that's not important.

Final Grade: A

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey



As we near the end of the year, I had to look back on my list of movies that I had been most anticipating and as the year went on, and the list grew shorter, I found myself feeling rather satisfied with the list that I had composed for 2012. While all of the movies I chose may not have been complete masterpieces, they at least left me satisfied. Until this week, only 2 movies remained on the list that needed my viewing: Django Unchained and today's movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And just for the heck of it, we'll give Les Miserables an honorary spot because while I may not have been all that hyped for it this time last year, I have seen footage and behind the scenes featurettes and well, consider me pumped. But I digress.

When I really think about it, The Hobbit had quite a bit to live up to. I mean sure, we've all been looking forward to Avengers and Dark Knight Rises for a few years now, but if you are like me, then this movie was 9 years in the making. It's kind of hard not to get yourself hyped up when you see the day approaching, especially when I remember writing my thoughts on the first trailer when it first hit theaters this time last year. Add on the fact that it has a number of the same stars, the same director, the same screenwriter, studio, even the locations are the same. Is it possible to screw something up when the set up is so perfect? Well, if Peter Jackson's name is on the movie in question, then the answer is very loud and resounding "HELL NO!" While I don't think that HUJ is anywhere near as breathtaking or mind blowing as LOTR, I still think that this movie was very well done and it did anything but let down my rather high expectations.

So the story is first set in the Shire actually during the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring, in which we see Bilbo preparing for his birthday party and, to take his mind off of things, he decides to write his memoir as a gift to his young nephew, Frodo, who also makes an appearance in this movie. As he is writing it, the rest of the movie is essentially one big flashback as Bilbo recounts the story of the Dwarves of Erebor, the dragon Smaug and the series of events that led to him travelling to the Lonely Mountain with Gandalf (played masterfully once again by the great Sir Ian McKellen) and Thorin, grandson of the last king of Erebor. We get a really well told prologue reminiscent of the iconic intro to Fellowship that details the building up and tearing down of Dwarven civilization and introduces us to the main antagonist of the movie, Smaug. In fact, the prologue is not the only thing that I saw as a throwback to Fellowship, the music is very similar and even the ending scene is almost identical to that of Fellowship. Int erms of staying loyal to the book, I would say that they left no t uncrossed nor any i undotted. I could almost quote the movie as the characters were saying it, that's how faithful it was... And that's how big of a nerd I am.  The two best examples of "That's exactly how I pictured it in the book!" would be the scene with the 3 trolls and the Riddles in the Dark.

Let's talk about the cast, both new and returning. First off, one of the great things about the Lord of the Rings movies was the cast. It may have to do with the fact that I have been in love with these movies for over 10 years now, but I am having a hard time imagining anybody playing these parts except the people they cast. To me, Ian McKellen is Gandalf, Hugo Weaving is Elrond, Andy Serkis is Gollum, etc. And the great thing is that this imagery has translated into the new cast for The Hobbit as well, especially Martin Freeman as the younger Bilbo. To me, he is Bilbo incarnate. All in all, I think he's a terrific actor because he is also John Watson incarnate in the BBC series Sherlock, which I really need to review someday. As for the dwarves, I don't really recognize any of them all that well, so I can buy them in their parts as well. Everybody put their best feet forward and it really shows, there is not a single weak performance in this movie. But...

We need to address one character that, as of the time that I am reviewing this, has gotten some early hate. Radagast the Brown, a wizard that is pretty much a magical earth-child, has already been compared to Jar-Jar, who infamously and almost single-handedly nearly ruined Star Wars. In order for a character to be on par in any way with Jar-Jar, he would need to be made purely for failed comic relief, contribute nothing to the story, and just make you feel unlcean and all around racist for watching him. Radagast, actually does play a part in the story and was not meant to be a purely comical character. Sure, he's a bit odder than the others, but I don't think of him as being a purely comic relief character. And on top of that, he's white, I'm white, I don't feel racist for looking at him. So that's out of the way. Moving on.

The one gripe that I have heard about the movie is the slow pace of it. Being that they need to spread all this material over the course of 3 movies, you would think they would all be a bit shorter. But no, it clocks at almost a 3 hour run time. And again, while slow pacing is an issue that many other people will have with movies, it never really bothered me. As long as I don't feel like there is nothing but filler or the scene drags out too long, I could give a damn. Turn a 30 second scene into a 10 minute scene if you must. But, for my money and what I was picturing, the scenes are all the perfect length, and I never found myself checking my watch.

So why does this not blow me away like LOTR? Well, you have to keep in mind, I was 9 when I was first introduced to the tale of Frodo and the Ring, and I knew next to nothing about Middle Earth when I sat in that theater that day. Really it has more to do with the fact that it was my first trip into Middle Earth, and there is only one of those, but they did come pretty damn close to making me feel like I was being introduced to it all over again. Though, this is not a bad thing in the least, seeing as how it felt like I was returning to a place I truly loved. It would be like going on a vacation to the Grand Canyon years after seeing it for the first time. You can't beat that first experience, but seeing it again brings back all those familiar feelings.

The long and short of it: I love this movie, and I cannot wait to pick it up when it comes out on DVD and I really wish I had a time machine so I can go a year ahead and see part 2!

Final Grade: A-

Friday, November 30, 2012

Breaking Dawn pt 2



You saw that right people, I really did see Twilight: Breaking Dawn pt 2. I was not manipulated or tricked or kidnapped or in any way, forced against my will to see this movie. I went into that cinema willingly, and held my head high as we watched this movie. Why did I see this movie? Because I was told by a very reliable source that it was an enjoyable flick that would not let me down. And it did not disappoint by any stretch of the imagination. Seriously, I enjoyed the heck out of this movie. I would almost tell Ted to move over, seeing as how this is the funniest film to be released this year... Except that I was just informed before writing this that it wasn't meant to be a comedy... This was meant to be taken seriously... I thought I was going to be reviewing a laugh out loud hit, and it turns out I have to review a drama...



Alright, let's get this over with

So, some of you may remember my other review of the Twilight series (I refuse to call it a Saga because I can't say Twilight Saga without wanting to give my shotgun a blowjob). In that, I basically ripped it apart for being degrading to women, overly dramatic and not realistic at all because of the lack of consequences despite all of the mistakes the characters made. And yeah, my stance is still steady on that. And I honestly had to intention of seeing this movie until earlier this week when my girl friend said that she saw it and that it was one of the most enjoyable experiences that she has had at the movies, and she is a former twi-hard that really hates these movies... Can you see why I'm attracted to her? Anyway, this is one of those movies that I would have taken a fifth of vodka before seeing because for me, this belongs in the Wrath of the Titans group of movies and this movie alone may be a new guilty pleasure for me because I just enjoyed how horrible it really was. Honestly, I know that very few (in fact maybe even none) of my readers are Twilight fans, but if there are, I really have to ask how you can expect me to take this movie seriously when I watch the hokey acting, the cheesy dialogue and the horrible effects and I honestly can't help but laugh. The only person who is actually any good is Michael Sheen as Aro, and that's only because he and the rest of the Volturi are the "No fucks given" crew. They are in on the joke that this series is terrible and that these movies are terrible too, so why even bother trying to give a legit performance. The main cast is acting their hearts (or whatever the hell Kristen Stewart has) out, and Michael Sheen goes out of his way to be as campy as possible. His character is almost like Dracula if he were played by Tim Curry's character from Rocky Horror. The best part of the movie for me was when he first sees the child and lets out this really girly squeal. The only other actor that is actually any good is Billy Burke as the constantly hopeless dad. Seriously, the only other movie that I've suffered through is New Moon, and in that, all he did was shrug through the whole movie and say "You're grounded, Bella". That alone was better acting than Kristen Stewart if she got lessons from Robert De Niro. Why even bother talking about the rest of the characters? They are just as bland and forgettable as the main cast.

Something that I really have to ask about is this: They are outdoors all the time and yet, they never sparkle. They only sparkle in one scene in the entire movie. I thought being out in the daylight made them sparkle, even though what they are really supposed to do is burst into flames. Continuity? What's that?!

So on to the rest of the story, God help me. The problems that I have still hold up. My main problem is the whole imprinting process with Jacob and Renesmee, who I still can't believe was named that. Even some of the characters are hearing that name and saying "Yeah, that's stupid". Even after people talk about it out loud, it still sounds creepy as hell. I almost wanted Chris Hansen from To Catch a Predator to walk in and say "Jacob, why don't you sit down?". Turns out, he was never actually in love with Bella, he was obsessing with her unborn child and his connection that he felt to Bella was really his connection to Nessie, as he calls her. The only other time that I can think of where somebody obsessed over an unborn child was the Terminator, and that was somehow less creepy than what we have going on here. By the way, the point when Bella got really pissed was when she realized that Jacob nicknamed her daughter after the Lochness monster. Two things: 1, her name is Renesmee, what the hell else are you going to call her? 2, you've got far bigger problems with him than that.

And now let's talk about the part that some people actually liked, and I have to say this is the part when I really, really give up all hope on humanity. So, at the end of the movie, there is this big throw down between the Volturi and the Cullen coven and their allies and whatever. Several people die and it was pretty epic and I almost found myself getting involved... And then we cut back to right before the battle as it turns out that someone was having a vision as to what the battle would look like if they were to fight. I couldn't hold it in any longer, I seriously booed the screen and yelled out "That is bullshit!" Honestly, whenever someone pulls the "It was all a dream" twist, I bite my lip, that is the absolute worst way to have a twist in your movie. The only movie where that worked was Inception and that was because it was only hinted that he was dreaming for the sake of discussion. I almost walked out of the theater and waited in the lobby for the people I was with. And I probably should have because the only thing left from that movie was one big Return of the King rip off. They seriously did the whole "cut to black, oh wait, we still have some movie left" routine. And then for the credits, they went through the entire cast and listed everyone with their name and a picture of the character that they played. The difference is that in Return of the King, even the characters that didn't show up in that movie were at least memorable because they had lines and character development. In this, even the people that were in it, I had to ask who some of them were because they either had one line or they were just sitting in the background. I guess you needed to be a fan of the books to get this, but still, if only people that read the books are going to have a clue as to who they are, then what's the point?

I could go on, but I'm tired and my fingers are aching, so for the last part of the movie, I'm just going to list the other questions/ things that make no sense about the movie.

Why do vampires have special abilities? Are they like the mutants in X-Men?
Why did they use a fake baby in some scenes and not in others? Why did they even use a fake baby at all? It was pretty obvious that it was a fake baby
What is it about Bella that people find her worthy of fighting this huge fight over? It's not like Harry Potter who they had a prophecy about him.
Why do they say that vampires don't breath even though they are talking, which requires breathing?
In pt 1, Edward was supposedly holding back during the love scene, and they broke the bed. In this one, he supposedly wasn't holding back and nothing was broken. How does that work?
Why do their eyes look red in some scenes and not in others? Is it a sign for when their blood lust is high or is it another example of continuity, or lack thereof?
Why were all of the covens so racist? The irish vampires were pretty stereotypical for irishman, and the romanian ones were all fruity and flamboyant.
People who read the book, when you read about the native americans coming out of the woods, did you imagine Tonto and Sacajawea? If you didn't, that makes this director more racist than George Lucas and Michael Bay. Already, I wouldn't be surprised if either of them made this movie.
Why does Renesmee age rapidly? People keep saying it's because she's half human but even after they say that, it still doesn't make any sense.
Why do all of these vampires have very exotic, foreign names and yet the Egyptian guy's name is "Ben"?
Why is Carlisle's name spelled with an "S"? Or as Aro would say "With an ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss" That's not so much something that is bothering me as much as it is a random thought.
Why did they not change Bella into a vampire before their wedding? Would have saved them alot of time and trouble.

Lincoln



Biographies are nothing new to cinema, but it seems as though we are getting more and more of them lately. Last year, we had J. Edgar, this year we have Hitchcock and today's movie, Lincoln. The difference is that while most biographies tend to focus on the person's entire life,  Lincoln  only focuses on one section of that person's life. In this case, it's the final months of the Civil War and the passing of the 13th amendment. And really, that may be the only section of his life that you need to talk about, being that those months pretty much became his legacy. I don't really think there's a point in including a spoilers section seeing as how we already know how it all ends, but does that really lessen it's value as a movie? Of course not! We have to remember, this is Spielberg we are talking about, and a historical Spielberg film no less. So where do I start? As if it's even necessary to talk about the acting, seeing as how you've got one of the greatest actors of all time playing Lincoln, and a supporting cast that is far from forgettable too, from screen veterans like Tommy Lee Jones stealing the scenes that they are in (that Daniel Day-Lewis isn't in mind you), to the growing star Joseph Gordon-Levitt being able to hold his own on screen, which is really saying something given the rest of the cast. As for the rest of the movie, I have to say that I'm really glad that this is a PG-13 rated movie because even though I like my war movies as gritty as can be, after watching this, I really want them to show this film in schools for history classes. This film really gave us a look as to who Lincoln was as a person and how much he fought to get the 13th amendment passed and what it meant to him. Again, being that it is Daniel Day-Lewis who is playing the president, you are really able to detach him from the character and see Abraham Lincoln on the screen as opposed to some actor playing Abraham Lincoln. The best part about this characterization is that we see a lot of Lincoln's sense of humor and that, even at his most stressful moments, he was not above using a joke or anecdote to illustrate his point or calm everyone's nerves. It felt as if, even though he was fighting like hell to lead the country and bring it back together, we were reminded that Lincoln was a person first, and a politician second, which is again a notable trait about the film, because the temptation is to focus too much on the conflict rather than the person. And it is for this reason, that I said earlier that this film should be shown in schools. It's a realistic portrayal of the Civil War, it's a realistic portrayal of the time and above all, it's a realistic portrayal of one of America's greatest presidents. I might want to see this movie again.

FInal Grade: A+

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Skyfall: The Next Generation

I'll explain why I entitled this as "The Next Generation", that part does contain some minor spoilers. As we get closer and closer to the end of the year, there seem to be 3 movies left on everybody's must see lists. This, Les Miserables and The Hobbit. So, how does our holiday movie season begin? Very strongly, I am happy to report. Skyfall is without a doubt, the best Bond film that we have seen since Daniel Craig has been cast in the part. In fact, critics have been praising this as being one of the best bond films yet, and I would have to agree with them. This takes the number 2 spot for me, right behind From Russia With Love and in front of Goldeneye. So why does this movie strike a cord with both critics and fans alike? Well, for starters, it has this theme of "out with the old, in with the new" in that they are taking the series in a new direction while still giving the old the respect it deserves. There are many scenes that made me think of scenes from older Bond films, even the ones with Connery. The best instance being when Bond does something spectacular and it is followed by a couple notes from the James Bond theme music. The movie starts with one of the best chase scenes that I have ever scene. It's probably the most thrilling chase sequence since the truck-batmobile chase from The Dark Knight, and that really is saying something. After that, we are treated to a very modern and yet very old fashioned credit sequence featuring a very well written song by Adele. The movie centers around M who is coming under fire from the british government for loosing a very important hard drive, and is being pressured into retiring by another british agent named Gareth Mallory, played by Ralph Fiennes. After an attack on MI6's headquarters in London, Bond comes out of hiding (he is presumed dead after the opening chase scene ends very badly) to help his old colleague and mentor track down the culprit, played by a very flamboyant Javier Bardem. If Casino Royale was Bond's equivalent of Batman Begins (taking a much more serious and darker tone when before it was very tongue in cheek), then Skyfall is Bond's Dark Knight. It gets everything about Casino Royale right while going the extra step. And I'd like to emphasize that this is much darker than the past movies I've seen. This is the first time that I've heard them hint at Bond being a substance abuser after his brush with death. It felt kind of weird seeing somebody that you always thought of as invincible be so vulnerable and broken.

SOME SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH

 Now, when I said that this was also "The Next Generation", I meant it by both the tone and direction, but also in the cast. We have a completely new crew in the MI6 headquarters. We already have Daniel Craig as the new Bond, we are also introduced to the new Moneypenny, the new head of Q branch (normally someone much older than Bond, now played by a man who looks like he just graduated from high school), and we even get a new head of the department. Yeah, in other words, this is the installment where we see Judi Dench's death and the title of M passed on to Mallory. At first, I was bummed because I would have really liked to see Ralph Fiennes play a Bond villain seeing as how he's played a serial killer, a nazi and a dark wizard. But now that I know the nature of his role and that this will cause him to show up in more Bond movies, I don't think there is much to complain about. However, I do wonder why this ending has not sparked some controversy. After all, we are seeing the death of one of the most enduring characters in the franchise, and someone that I have grown up with in these films.

THE SPOILERS HAVE ENDED

Of course the one thing that we all love about the Bond films are the gadgets. While I have criticized some of the past films for going too far in some areas, I do admit that I find most of them really cool. Fortunately for both me and the gadget lovers, there are some, but it is still pretty low key. He has a gun that recognizes his hand print so only he can use it, he has a radio beacon that he can use to call in support, and he has the car with machine guns and an ejector seat. Not much else apart from that I'm afraid. The new Q even remarks "What were you expecting? An exploding pen? We don't really do that anymore." Again, noting that they are moving on but still acknowledging a fan favorite of the past in a funny way.

Not much else I can say now, I've pretty much covered every area of the movie that I can think of. I would talk about the Bond Girls, but they aren't in it for very long. So yeah, for a movie that's 2 1/2 hours long, it certainly didn't feel like it dragged at all, you were certainly invested in what was going on the entire time (again, going back to what I said about this being Bond's Dark Knight), which is hard to do, and can go very badly if you aren't too careful.

Final Grade: A+


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Yay or Nay? Rereleasing movies in 3D

There has been a new trend on the rise over the past few years in which major studios will take some of their best known and best loved movies and rerelease them in theaters for the (insert multiple of 10) anniversary. The most recent ones of course, being Titanic, Star Wars, and many of Disney's classic movies of the 90's. While I do think that sounds great, there is a slight problem that I have with it: They are all in 3D. I've already made it clear how I feel about the format, so you can already tell where this is going. Here's my problem, 3D is such an expensive tool and hardly ever does it actually pay off. The best uses of it have oddly enough been in animated films, rather than big action pictures like Avatar or The Avengers. My real question is why? Why would they feel the need to convert it to shitty 3D when they could easily just say "Hey guys! We are going to put Jurassic Park back into the theaters... Go see it!" It would cost the studios next to nothing, and it's not like they are reshowing movies that didn't score well at the box office. The movies I listed above are all ones that everyone and their mother have scene, and I guarantee you we would have no problem paying to see them again on the big screen. You don't need to convert them to 3D to give us the incentive  we loved these movies when we first saw them 10, 20 years ago, and we'll love them just as much now. If anything, it gives younger viewers the feeling of what it felt like to see it for the first time on the big screen, and for older viewers, it brings back those old memories of when they first saw it. In fact, that's exactly what they did when they released movies like Memento, Scarface and Lord of the Rings, and people went to go see them. Not as many, mind you, but that had more to do with the fact that only a few theaters were showing Memento, and it wasn't very widely advertised. I only know about it because I saw it on Chris Nolan's fan page on facebook. But that's beside the point. So why am I bringing this up? Well, I just saw an ad that said they are going to be putting Jurassic Park back into the theaters in April. At first, I thought "Wow, this is awesome!" I freaking loved those movies when I saw them in 4th grade on DVD, just imagine how awesome they would look on a huge ass theater screen... But then I saw that it was being converted to 3D, and again, I just had to question what the point of it was. Especially with a movie like Jurassic Park. 3D was supposed to be about creating an experience, and Jurassic Park never really felt like an experience to me. The one argument that I have heard for this is that "It's all about money" but not even that argument makes sense. Like I said before, the only thing the studio would have to say it "Hey everyone, we are putting this movie back into theaters for a couple of weeks, it's going to be exactly the same as when it first came out, we hope you enjoy it!", it would cost the studio a lot less than it would to convert it, and it's a pretty safe bet that audiences would go see it again, if not for nostalgia.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Special!

You probably came here thinking I was going to give my thoughts on the election happening today. That I was going to give some speech about how you should get out there and vote because your voice matters and that you can help shape the course of history.

Sorry guys, not today. Not that I don't care about what happens in our nation, but here's the thing, I do this as a hobby, and why would I want to spend my hobby time talking about stuff that matters? Instead, we are going to talk about the things that you pay me to talk about: Movies and video games. Okay, I guess I don't really get paid to talk about that, but that's not the point. In today's case we are going to talk about one of the most hyped up and anticipated games of 2012... That's right, we are talking about...










Wait... What? Sorry wrong game, we are really here to talk about...
























There should be a "Fuck Yeah" somewhere on this poster

Yes, we are talking about one of the most awaited sequels probably of the new decade. Ever since the first Halo game was released for the original Xbox console, games have never really been the same, especially first person shooters. What Halo did for first person shooters is what Zelda did for fantasy games. In other words, titles like Call of Duty and Battlefield all owe thanks in one way or another to the original Halo. And in alot of cases, some games have failed to meet the standard set by the original masterpiece. Unfortunately, some of those cases include Halo's own sequels. Some of them were good, the best one up to this point being Halo Reach (which was really more of a prequel), but none really wowed us the way that Halo did. Halo 2 was pretty meh, Halo 3 was an improvement, but it has its flaws, Halo 3 ODST was like the equivalent of Bourne Legacy, it was interesting, but the world would have kept on spinning had it not been released. We also had Halo Wars, which was a strategy game for Halo which, while it was a worthy effort and I do think is pretty underrated, got kind of swept under the rug. Then we had Halo Reach, which I already said was the best one to come since the original. Last year, we had the rerelease of the original Halo, where the developers took the original Halo, updated the graphics and released it for the Xbox 360. And to be honest, I had been saying that this should have happened a long time ago. So now, here we are, 2012, and Halo 4 is upon us, even though we were already told that Halo 3 was going to be the last for this story line. 

So, has this franchise gotten lost in space, or does live up to its own hype?  The answer is a very thankful and relieved YES, it does live up to the hype. When Bungie said that they were passing the torch to 343 industries, none of us really knew what to make of that. As far as I know, they haven't made anything big, and Halo 4 would have been their first huge big budget project, and you can tell that not a dime of the blank check they were handed was put to waste. My main problem with the other sequels, even Reach was that none of them felt as big or as grand as the first Halo. Well, that problem was already addressed 2 levels into the game after you have crash landed on a new planet. I'm not going to go into the story, as I don't want to spoil anything for those who are holding out for Christmas, but I can say for sure is that from a story stand point, this is a far superior entry to the predecessors. As far as I have played, there are no flood, there are sentinels and we even get to fight elites again. I was bummed when they turned good because I really liked fighting those guys. Sad Panda. At least, not anymore now that I get to kill them again. Joy! Keep in mind, I'm not that far into the game right now, so I can't say this for sure, but like I said there is not one sign of the flood. I really hope that is not a knock on wood moment, seeing as how I thought they were cool for the first bit, but I always saw them as a gag that got old really fast. So, as fun as the other games were, it finally seems as though we have finally been given the Halo sequel we were asking for. The only gripe that I have is that I heard they took out the firefight mod for multiplayer, which was the source of hours upon hours of fun for myself and my friends. Oh well, as long as there is a co-op element, or really any multiplayer (something the Halo games kick ass at), we don't have much to complain about.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wreck-it Ralph

As if I really need to actually tell you if this movie is good. It's a Pixar movie! It's almost a guarantee that you are going to love it, it just all depends on what you are going to love it for. Are you going to love it the same way you loved The Incredibles where it was alot of fun and made you laugh yourself silly? Or is it more like Toy Story 3 where you are going to ball your eyes out? Well, to tell you the truth, I would group this together in the category of Incredibles and Monsters Inc. There was a lot of heart to it, and it had it's fair share of touching moments, but what I'm really going to remember this movie for is just how darn funny it is. And you have to give it credit for having a pretty creative idea too. The movie takes place in the world of video games. You ever see those PS3 commercials that have a bunch of iconic characters drinking together or something like that? This is basically the movie version of those commercials. I really liked the lengths that it went into creating this alternate universe. Probably my favorite bit in the movie is the scene where Wreck-it Ralph, a video game villain, attends a support group for villains who want something more out of their lives. If you grew up in the 90's and ever attended a birthday party at a Chuck-E-Cheese or a Nickel Nickel, you will love this scene. In addition to Ralph, you have other well known baddies like M. Bison from Streetfighter, Bowser from Super Mario, and a zombie with hatchets which, I can't be sure, but I think it might be a reference to House of the Dead. That's the only game that I've played where the zombies threw hatchets. Now, as much as I go on about this scene, don't think that this is the only good thing about the movie. The humor, while it is primarily intended for kids, is also enjoyable for adults and older kids can enjoy the little winks to games like PacMan and Sonic and other games that we wasted quarter after quarter on during our childhood. The story is good, the animation is well, Pixar, you don't need to go much further. And the voice acting from Jane Lynch, John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman among others is all top notch. What more can I say? This is one of the best animated films of the year, go see it! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yay or Nay? Lucasfilm being bought by Disney.



It's been a while since I did one of these, but I figured now is as good a time as any to give my thumbs opinion on a matter. Just yesterday, it was announced that Walt Disney Pictures has bought Lucasfilm for 4 billion dollars. As part of the deal, they also get companies like Lucas Arts (who make all Star Wars related games) and Skywalker Sound. It was also announced that a 7th Star Wars movie will soon be in the works with a release date of 2015. People seem to be rather split on the matter, and to be honest, I am not too opposed to this deal. For starters, Lucasfilm is already a big part of the Disney family, what with rides for both Indiana Jones and Star Wars being in their theme parks, so this really doesn't change all that much. As for a new Star Wars movie, I'm not opposed to that either, especially if Lucas is not directing it. One of the major flaws with the prequels was that Lucas was given free reign to do whatever the hell he wanted, and as a result, we got lines like "I truly deeply love you" and a discussion of sand being acceptable foreplay. We also got one of the most annoying characters in existence as a part of this. Already, having Lucas out of the way is looking like a step in the right direction  Lucas said that he wanted to hand down his brainchild to a new generation of film makers and who does this generation have? Well, off the top of my head, we have Joss Whedon, Chris Nolan, JJ Abrams, Peter Jackson, and those are just the ones I could name off the top of my head. Honestly, trusting Star Wars to any of these guys would seem like a wise move. Now to all of those who are opposed to a seventh Star Wars movie altogether, I have to ask: Why? As long as the saga has been around, people have been talking about more movies being in the works. This is not anything new. And if they aren't going to make another movie, then what was the point of buying the company in the first place? Owning Lucasfilm wouldn't mean a god damn thing, life would pretty much continue the way that it has been for years. Personally, I would like to see another film, and make it one that is independent to the story of the previous saga. Let it take place in the same universe, but give it new characters, a new setting, maybe we could have it take place years before or years after. I've heard a few fans talk about making an Old Republic movie, wouldn't that be awesome? Now, I will also say that we shouldn't get too hyped up because then we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. But overall, I don't really see the harm in letting the mouse own Lucasfilm because they've already owned it in a sense for some time now. For the moment, all this really means to me is that we are going to see more Star Wars shit being sold at Disneyland and the Disney store. And honestly, can anybody say with a straight face that this is a bad thing?

Verdict: Yay

Villain of the Day- October 31st


ZOMBIES
I was trying to think of how I was going to end this. Who is so fucking epic and scary that only they were worthy of being represented on All Hallow's Eve? And then when I thought about it, there really is only one person, or persons, that fits the bill: Zombies. Much like vampires, zombies have really grown in popularity in pop culture over the past few years. Only, I think it would be a bit harder to turn a zombie into a romantic lead. But I digress. The idea of zombies has been around for centuries, and everybody finds them freaky. And why wouldn't we? A minute ago, they were dead and now they are not only walking and talking (kinda), but they are trying to eat you brains with a ravenous passion. God forbid this particular one is a friend or loved one of yours. That has to be uncomfortable. On top of being all around shit your pants material, zombies just seem to make everything more epic. Think about it, you want a comic book series to be awesome? Add zombies. You want a World War 2 video game to be awesome? Add zombies. You want a Jane Austen novel to be awesome? Add zombies! You can think of an example for each of these where the presence of the undead has just made it that more awesome

Villain of the Day- October 30th

(when asked what his real name is) "I never tell"
The Governor
This one was a last minute change. Recently, on The Walking Dead, we were introduced to The Governor, a ruthless dictator that rules the homestead of Woodbury under strict watch. The disturbing thing about him is that if you haven't been following the show, or aren't familiar with the comic series, he doesn't seem like that bad of a guy. Sure, he makes some questionable decisions, but other than that, he is not that much different from Rick. But then you see him massacre a squadron of unsuspecting soldiers, and his sadistic nature becomes known to the audience. He reasons that he is only trying to protect his people and in doing so, all others have to die or they will become a threat to everything he holds dear. Still doesn't seem that bad, but then you see his secret room where he keeps the heads of the walkers he has killed and how he spends his free time just admiring them as they sit in fish tanks. Okay, this guy is nuts. We've only known this guy for one episode and I wouldn't be surprised if he became a running character on the show. He and Rick could have the most epic arm-wrestling tournament in history!

Villain of the Day- October 29th


Xenomorphs
This is probably the only animal type villain that I'm including on here. It's also one of the most terrifying fucking things that has ever graced the screen. Just learning about how they reproduce is enough to make you squirm. If you ever want to aptly describe how bad you felt when you had the stomach flu, just say that you were reenacting the birth scene from the first Alien movie, and people will almost start vomitting themselves. So let's do a rundown of this creature. It's a beast that hunts solely on scent and sound, being that it has no eyes, so there's really no way to hide from it, it'll eventually find you. It learns quickly on how to get into secure locations, it has two mouths to bite you with and it bleeds fucking acid. As if the rest of it wasn't terrifying enough, you have to add the fact that it bleeds acid. So basically, if it gets anywhere near you, you're screwed. Either he's going to chew your face off, or you are going to shoot it in the face, and the acid will chew your face off.

Villain of the Day- October 28th


While you were still learning how to SPELL YOUR NAME, I was being trained to conquer GALAXIES!!!
Turl
I think I've made it quite clear that I am someone who freaking loves bad movies. And when it comes to talking about bad movies, we almost always go to Battlefield Earth, the archetypical bad movie. And nothing makes a crappy movie better than a crappy villain and boy does Turl take the cake in that department. I really have to wonder what everybody associated with this character was thinking when they made this character. His lines are abismal, his make up is laughable, and let's not even talk about John Travolta's performance. Nah, scratch that, let's. I don't think you will ever see an actor chew the scenery more than Travolta did in this movie. He is so over the top, so silly, so high pitched, that you would think that this movie was supposed to be a parody rather than a legit action thriller. I honestly cannot recommend this movie enough, and about 90% of it has to do with this pasty white jamaican mother fucker

Villain of the Day- October 27th

Do you know what it is to be a lover? To be half of a whole?
Mallory Cob
Inception really is one of those movies where every time somebody publishes something new about it, you realize just how darn cool the movie really is. Chris Nolan really went all out when he wrote his characters and how cryptic everything about them is, right down to the name. Mallory, or Mal, as she is referred to in the movie, is Dom's deceased wife who returns from the grave in his dreams to torment him and screw up everything that he tries to do, whether it be steal an idea or plant one in. At times she will go so far as to try and shoot him. Everything about her has some sort of meaning. For example, her name Mal, is the latin root for "bad" in several languages including Spanish, Italian and French. Her full name, Mallory, means "unlucky". She is the symbol of Cobb's guilt and regret having accidentally caused her death and been forced to abandon their children until he can find a way to erase the charges against him. And as such, she refuses to leave him alone and is a constant reminder of his sins. Marion Cotillard's performance is top notch playing the charming and seductive but also dangerous Mal, creating what I think to be an unfairly overlooked character.

Villain of the Day- October 26th

Today is another twofer. When people talk about Disney villains, they usually think of one or both of these characters. And I think it has to do with the fact that of the disney movies that came from the renaissance of the early 90's these two came from the most popular movies. Not to say that Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid didn't have its fans, but we seem to remember these two the best, at least my friends do. In case you haven't figured it out yet, we are looking at Scar and Jafar from... Well, you already know. If you don't, then you lead a rather sad existence my friend.

Scar
Personally, I think Scar is my favorite Disney villain. Part of it has to do with that he came from probably my favorite Disney movie, and I think part of it is that he is just a cool villain. Unless I am mistakened, he's the only villain in a Disney movie that actually managed to kill one of the main characters, unless you count MAN from Bambi, but then again, MAN was more of an entity or an idea rather than an actual character in Bambi. Again, like all good villains, what makes Scar so great is that he manipulates people. Jafar manipulated people too, but he had a little help from his powers to do that. Scar just schemed his way into his position of power. Something that I never really thought about, but I think it needs speculation: Why the hell is Scar the color orange and black? I never really got that. I guess it's because he's evil, but how did he get that way? I've looked up tons of pictures of lions and not one of them had a black mane. Weird.

Jafar
This is the other character that people think of when they think of animated villains. And why shouldn't they? He's a cool villain. I will admit, he does loose a few points in my book because he had magic spells to help him get what he wanted, whereas others used their cunning and wit, but even the magic power had a cool part to play. It did after all, give him the ability to turn into a snake. Apart from his ability to change into a giant freaking snake, Jafar also has the ability to hypnotize people, hold them in place, conjure objects from nowhere, summon fire, pretty much everything that your typical supervillain can do. Now that I think about it, he does have a lot of the same powers as Loki. Coincidence? Hell if I know. And on top of that, he's just an all around dick, but he's so sly and smooth about it that you can often miss it at times, only to realize a few moments later that he just verbally slapped you in the face.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Villain of the Day- October 25th




The Headless Horseman
Okay, I'm sort of cheating on this one because when I talk about the Headless Horseman, I'm not just talking about the one in the Disney cartoon The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, even though I really do like that short. I'm also talking about the one played by Christopher Walken in Tim Burton's movie Sleepy Hollow. Back when I talked about my top guilty pleasures, I mentioned that a number of Tim Burton's movies were guilty pleasures, and this is one of them. I enjoy the heck out of it, but it does have it's pretty silly moments, and Christopher Walken's screen time is definitely the best one. Walken is not even in it for that long, being that he played the Horseman when he was alive, but his five minutes on screen is enough for me to watch it again. He doesn't even have lines apart from a blood crazed battle cry. Same goes for the Horseman in the Disney version, he just has an evil cackle that sounds awesome. It's that classic evil laugh that almost every villain has. There isn't anything particularly iconic about these villains, neither have really had an impact on culture the way that Darth Vader or The Joker had, but I just think that they are a ton of fun to watch. And again, the idea of the strangest man alive as the Headless Horseman is just perfect in my mind.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Villain(s) of the Day- Oct 24th

Today, we are going to be looking at the trinity of bitchiness. Honestly, I find it rather weird that Disney of all companies are the ones creating characters that are just this horrible.


The Evil Queen
This one I already sort of talked about when we talked about the Queen from Snow White and the Huntsman, so I won't talk about her too much. What I will say though, is that if I found out that my stepmom was not only trying to kill me, but dabbling in the supernatural as a means of doing it, I would probably become pretty paranoid. You would think that the psychological effects on Snow White would be much more severe. I'd start looking at everyone thinking they were her in disguise. I mean yeah, she fell off that cliff at the end, but what's to stop her from coming back? We already know she's been fooling around with Black Magic. How do we know she hasn't learned a resurrection spell? Am I the only one who has thought about this? Don't you think that would make an awesome sequel? Perhaps a bit unnecessary, but you could make it work.



Maleficent
Another delightful woman, Maleficent shares something in common with the Evil Queen in that she wanted to kill the princess for a lame ass reason. And that is that she wasn't invited to the birthday party. I've looked it up, and that is the only reason they give for her cursing the princess. Imagine if these women had a legitimate reason for wanting them dead. Not that that would be possible because violence is never the answer!... I couldn't even type that with a straight face. And look, if wanting an infant dead, having an army of evil-looking goblins and turning into a dragon doesn't make you evil, just add the fact that she is going to be played by Angelina Jolie and there you go! You have the queen of all bitches right here!


Lady Tremaine
Of the three women here, she is probably the odd ball in that she isn't really an oddball. She is actually the only one here with no connection to the dark arts... Doesn't make her any less of a bitch. As a matter of fact, she may be a bigger bitch because all she has is the ability to manipulate Cinderella's life and maker her dance to her beat. And man does she take advantage of that! Unlike the other two, she doesn't have a lame reason for doing this, she doesn't really even have a reason. I'm not sure which is worse! But I think the worst part of this character is that she actually named her cat after the devil. I'm not even kidding, she named her cat Lucifer. What kind of fucked up life are you leading when you look at a cat and think "You know what? Lucifer sounds like a cute name for you!" Fun fact: The same woman that voiced Maleficent is also the voice of Lady Tremaine and the crystal ball in Haunted Mansion

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Villain of the Day- Oct 23-2


(this particular part cracks me up)
"I have antlers on all of my decorating!"
Gaston
Can I admit that I really like Beauty and the Beast and still convince you that I am a straight guy? I know it's a total chick flick and it's all about the romance and what not, but it's a really well told story with some really well written characters, and it's just all around a damn good movie. Thanks in no small part to the villain, Gaston, who is a drop dead handsome athletic guy that always seems to get what he wants. Something that a number of people have pointed out is that if this were any other story, he would actually be the hero, which again makes sense because he does fit the description for what a typical hero would be. Although while most heroes do things because it's the right thing to do, or they're doing it for their one true love, Gaston mostly does it for the attention and praise. His argument for wanting to marry Belle is that they are the two best looking people in town, so they should get together and produce immaculate offspring. Not a bad argument, except that's his only argument. Apart from his attitude and outlook on life, Gaston is one of my favorites because he has the funniest song in the movie (at least to me he does). His song about all of his hobbies and little habits had me cracking up when I last heard it, it's just so corny! I always had this image about him when he was younger that he was the stereotypical jock in high school who everybody loved and no matter what he did, people would love him for it, at least that would explain how he ended up being this arrogant and self-absorbed. Also, about his sidekick, whose name I can't remember right now. Am I the only one getting any sort of homoerotic vibes from that guy? I know he likes Gaston, and their friends and everything... But do you think he's mancrushing on him maybe a little too much? Food for thought

Villain of the Day- Oct 23rd


"SMEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
Captain Hook
This is probably one of my favorite Disney villains. Captain Hook always made me laugh when I saw this as a little kid. Mostly because the scenes where he fights off the crocodile are among the funniest scenes you will ever see in an animated movie. But on top of that, he is also very threatening and sadistic, as most Disney villains are. In fact, now that I think about it, in just about every rendition, Captain Hook always has been a badass, probably the most when he was played by Jason Isaacs. Disney's version of the story has become the one that most of us know, and it's often the first one that we think of when we here somebody say "Peter Pan" which isn't all that bad considering that it is done quite well. I don't know if Hook was as comical in the book as he is portrayed on screen, but he is still a memorable character and he steals every scene he is in. I was thinking of including Smee in this, but I never really saw him as a villain. Sure, he is on the pirates' side, but he is just too much of a sweetheart, I can't see him in that light. But again, the scenes with Hook and Smee are among the funniest in an animated movie, and I love the way that Hook is always crying for Smee's help when the crocodile shows up.

Villain of the Day- Oct 22nd



"Oh I love it when I'm nasty"
Professor Ratigan
Being that I am owned by the Walt Disney Company, I am contractually obligated to include some of their villains in my countdown. And to be honest, that's not really much of a chore considering they have given us some pretty memorable badguys. They practically have their own category. One of the more underrated villains comes from what I see as being one of the most underrated Disney movies of all time, The Great Mouse Detective. The villain is a rat called Professor Ratigan, who is basically the rat version of Professor Moriarty. Something that I learned not too long ago is that he was voiced by the late, great Vincent Price. If you don't know who that is, you at least know what he's done. Most notably, he is the creepy voice from Michael Jackson's Thriller music video. Now picture that voice, as a Disney villain. That sounds like a match made in Heaven! And it truly is. I recently saw this movie again and I love the way Price plays Ratigan. He is always smiling and giggling especially when he does the most wretched things, and he really makes an effort at keeping his class and composure, even though we know that deep down he is a bloodthirsty monster. Again, I think this is one of the most underrated movies to come from my employers, and Ratigan truly deserves to be ranked up there with Scar and Jafar for best Disney Villains... Oh don't worry, we'll get to them too.

Villain of the Day- Oct 21st

 


"I'm never going to see a merman"
"Dude, be grateful, those things are terrifying. And the cleanup is a nightmare"
Hadley and Stitterson
This one is going to be hard to talk about because if you haven't seen The Cabin in the Woods, you really need to. It is one of the most creative movies of this year and I even added it to my favorite movies of all time. Part of what makes it so great are these two guys. They are the two that sit in a control room and control every action that happens. You would think they were sadistic, seeing as how they are doing some pretty terrible things to unsuspecting kids, but when you consider that they are doing this for a pretty good reason, you can forgive it. Honestly, some of the best scenes in the movie are just of these two talking and making witty remarks. And it is pretty cool to see how they manage to manipulate everything from one small room. They do other clever things throughout the movie like find things to place bets on and what not, which makes the horrible things that they have to do seem like another day at work for them. Which it is, and they would both admit that it's kind of depressing, which is why they go out of their way to make things as humorous and entertaining as possible. One employee says it's their way of letting off steam. If you are a horror fan, this flick is definitely worth the watch, especially for the scenes involving these two guys.

Villain of the Day- Oct 20th

"You have failed me for the last time"
Darth Vader
If there is one thing that most people know about me, apart from loving to talk about movies, it's that I am an incurable nerd. So you all knew that it was only a matter of time before we started talking about Star Wars. After all, Lord of the Rings was not that long ago, how could we not get around to one of the most iconic movie sagas, with some of the most iconic characters of all time? For starters, we are going to talk about one of the most identifiable, badass villains to have ever been written. Darth Vader, before he was written in the prequels as a whiny pipsqueak that hit on women twice his age, was one of the biggest badasses, not only in sci-fi but in film in general. He had one of the most awesome entrances ever in New Hope, where he just walks in and looks at a bunch of dead bodies like it's another day at the office, and then just keeps walking. In Empire, he became way more pimp than he already was, being able to strangle disloyal minions via skype and scare the living piss out of the rest of them just by walking past. Darth Vader has become such an icon in pop culture, that you don't even need to see Star Wars in order to know who he is, or even how badass he is. Just the image of him standing with his lightsaber drawn is enough to know that this guy is not to be fucked with. Not to mention that one of the greatest twists of all time is one that involved him, leading to again, another iconic movie moment. Everything about this character is classic, from his appearance, to his voice, to that always memorable music that accompanied his first appearance in Empire. If you haven't seen any of these classic movies, I would definitely tell you to give them a look. Even if you don't enjoy them yourself, you can at least see why they had the impact that they did, and why we all love characters like Darth Vader.

"Strike me down with all of your hatred, and you journey towards the dark side will be complete!"
Darth Vader to the Emperor "What is they bidding, my master?"
The Emperor
Even though he is the main antagonist for the whole series, the Emperor, while cool in his own right, is always pushed to the side when talking about villains. I think it has to do with the fact that Darth Vader was so fucking boss that nobody, not even his own boss, could top him. But no matter, like I said, the Emperor really had a lot of build up throughout Hope and Empire. They always talked about him like "Yeah, Vader might be bad, but at least we don't have the Emperor watching us", but then in Return of the Jedi, Vader informs them that the Emperor is coming to oversee the final preparations for the second Death Star, and you can tell the officer he is informing is just shitting himself. And yet, when we finally see him, after all that build up, he has the appearance of a frail old man. Doesn't really sound all that impressive, but then you see him do things like shoot lightning bolts out of his finger tips. And then you remember that this is after all  the only guy that Vader has to answer to, so he must have some kind of badass rap sheet if he is going to be the one person that the biggest badass in existence has to take orders from. Suddenly, he doesn't look so frail. Actually, for all their faults, I would say that the Emperor was one of the things that the prequels got right for the most part. He's depicted as this mysterious figure who is pulling everybody's strings whether they know it or not. And just in general, that's a good trait for a villain to have. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Villain of the Day- Oct 19th


The Overlook Hotel
Originally, I was going to talk about only one of the characters that show themselves in The Shining. I couldn't decide between Jack, the writer who goes crazy, Grady, the butler who convinces him to slaughter his family, Lloyd, the suspicious looking bartender, the rotting old woman, or the twin sisters that keep showing up. So I just though I would include all of them, or rather, the one controlling them. And that really is the Overlook Hotel itself. You never really figure out why the place is haunted or what its history is, but you do know that when people have a past connected to the Hotel, they never really leave it behind. After they have died, they return as a ghost of whatever they were when they were in the hotel. The place is filled with people that have either worked there or even just been guests there. At first, people like Lloyd and Grady act as though they aren't aware that they are dead, but slowly, they begin to give hints that they really know what's going on. Lloyd even has that "I know something you don't know" grin on his face. And the fact that they just don't come out and say what's on their mind just makes it all the more eery. Of course the biggest WTF moment in the movie comes at the end when we see Jack after he has died showing up in a picture from a New Year's Eve party from the late 30's. That moment alone has sparked debate amongst fans as to what it's true meaning is.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Villain of the Day- Oct 18th


"I pardon you"
Amon Goeth
Where do I start with this one? For starters, he's a Nazi, which already makes him worthy of being on this list, seeing as how Nazi's do tend to make the best bad guys. But the one thing that sets him apart from even his Nazi film counterparts is that Schindler's List was Stephen Spielberg's telling of the Holocaust the way it happened. There wasn't any room for exaggerations or fiction. Even when it came to the character of Amon Goeth. Which means that all of the things that you see Goeth do in the movie. Well, that actually happened. Goeth really did execute people at random and use workers as target practice from his balcony. And those are just a few examples. There isn't a hamminess to Fiennes' performance, which would take us out of the drama of the story, he often just has this look of nonchalantness, like he's done this before. To be honest, this character stands out the most to me in this movie because again, being that this was the "No BS" history movie, it just feels sickening that a person like this can exist. At least in the cases of other people on this list, they have been either fictional or exaggerations of real people, this is the first truly wicked person that we've talked about that actually existed.

Villain of the day- Oct 17th


"I like to dissect girls. Did you know I'm utterly insane?"
Patrick Bateman
Before Christian Bale made a name for himself loosing his voice as Batman and yelling at keygrips, he actually gained a cult following by playing one of the biggest assholes in movie history. Patrick Bateman is one of the most arrogant, conceited, self-centered egotistical jerks you will ever see in film. He obsesses constantly over how he looks, thinks only of how he can make others think highly of him, and schemes to bring down those who stand in his way. He even kills a man who is able to get reservations at a restaurant on the same night he tries. There is really nothing in this guy's soul except for jealousy and contempt. And honestly, even though this guy is a total asshole, I do actually recommend this movie. It's a cult classic that is insanely fun to quote when the opportunity arises. It's also one that Baleheads hold in high regard and no matter how many times we see Bale growl as the caped crusader, we will always see him as the 80's wall street yuppie that is Patrick Bateman


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Villain of the Day- Oct 16th


"A boy's best friend is his mother"
Norman Bates
Even if you don't know the twist at the end of the movie Psycho, you can still tell that there are a number of things wrong with this guy, and you would really want to keep your distance if you were in the same room as him. He has all the signs of somebody who is about to snap. His timid manner, the fact that he fidgits uncontrollably, that he has an infatuation with his mother. You just get this feeling that he is not in public who he is behind closed doors, and when somebody tries to pull of such a nice guy persona when you know the he is sheltering some kind of dark demented secret, it makes him not only scary as a character, but as a person. When the awful truth about him is revealed, it becomes one of those movies where you watch it again and say "Wow! It all makes sense now!" And what is a villain without a creepy smile? And Norman has one of the most iconic creepy smiles to date.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Villain of the Day- Oct 15-3


"And I'm the devil! Now kindly undo these straps!"
Regan
In case you haven't noticed, the theme for October 15th was "Women you don't want to cross on their periods". If that's the case, I should include my sister on here... Hey-oh!
She doesn't read this, she's not gonna care!

I guess it isn't really Regan that we are talking about as much as it is the demon inside of Regan, which is never really named, it's just "the Demon". And honestly, what other name do you need? The idea of a person being possessed by a demon is bad enough, but a little girl? It goes back to my point about the woman in black in that they don't give a rat's ass that they are dealing with children, they are just possessing her because they want to. Yikes. If they did that much to a child, imagine what they would do to a grown adult. Now, I'm not going to get into what made the possessed Regan so terrifying because that always gives me the creeps, but there is something else I noticed after watching the movie only recently. If you watch the director's cut, there are a few cutaway scenes in which you see the face of... Well, I'm not sure what it's the face of. I suppose it's the face of the demon possessing her because we catch it in a few scenes in Regan's house and in Father Carrass's dreams, but it's never really named. It's just this face with ghastly white skin, red eyes and a look of insatiable hunger. And when that face is looking directly at the person watching the movie (aka YOU), that part alone could give you nightmares.
Here is said face. You shitting yourself yet?



Even to this day, people will watch this movie and want to run out screaming, I believe it's still shown in some cinemas on Halloween night. If you haven't seen this yet, it is worth the watch, if you can stomach it. Once the demon starts to take more and more control over the girl, it does get more and more terrifying and harder to watch, but if you can stomach it, you might not regret it.


Villain of the Day- Oct 15th


"I'll get you my pretty! And your little dog too!"
The Wicked Witch of the West
Before I get started, yes, I have seen the play Wicked, and while I will say that I enjoyed the music, acting, staging etc. immensely, I am not accounting that story arc in this review because I am only looking at the character in the film The Wizard of Oz. Having said that, WWOW, is probably one of the first villains that some of us saw when we were children, and what a great one to introduce us to villains. And what a great one to include in a countdown to halloween. When people first hear the word "witch" she is usually the first person that comes to mind. And why shouldn't she be? She has the grotesque skin, the flying broom, the ear shattering pitch in her voice, she's become the staple of hollywood evil. Her motivations are pretty clear, just get the ruby shoes, which I never really understood why they wouldn't just give them to her. What would they loose by giving her the slippers? It's not like she needed them because the rubies powered some sort of doomsday device. I guess they just wanted to say "Fuck you and your dead sister". Although I guess they did need them to send Dorothy back... I don't know, I really feel like the witch got the short straw on this whole deal. Fun fact: I heard a rumor that the actress who played the witch was a kindergarten teacher before accepting the part, and I thought my intro to lit professor was evil.

Villain of the Day- Oct 15-2



The Woman in Black
Earlier this year, this movie was released and while others said it was okay, I praised it as being a new horror classic, and most of it had to do with how this specter was shown. Her backstory is that she had a child out of wed lock and her sister adopted the boy immediately after the boy was born to avoid any potential scandals. However she was prevented from seeing her son and vowed revenge on her sister after the boy was killed in an accident in which he drowned in the marsh surrounding the house. The mother died soon after, only to come back as a vengeful ghost that haunted her sister to her dying day and continues to terrorize the townspeople by taking their children in the most dreadful ways. In the novel, they would die through some insane accident. In the movie, which I said this was an improvement in that it was much more chilling, she puts the children in a trance and forces them to commit suicide in a manner that looks like an accident, such as wading into waters with a strong tide, or dropping a gas lamp at their own feet, even swallowing lye. The other creepy part is when we see her standing with the souls of the children that she has claimed standing around her, implying that once she has driven them to the grave, she isn't finished with them, she holds onto them. Normally, in stories like this, we find out that she cares for the children like they were her own, being that she took them to fill the whole in her heart left there by her son. Not in this case. Being that this is a dark spirit, and a pissed off, vengeful one at that, I don't think she is making the afterlife a picnic for those poor children. And finally, I have to talk about the ending. Sorry if I am spoiling this for anyone, but I do feel that this is an important part of my analysis. In the end, the young attorney that pieces together her story comes to the conclusion that if he were to lay the body of her son in her grave next to her, maybe she would be at piece and would feel less inclined to take the life of his own son. Well, after all that, she still decides to try and claim his son as her own, trancing him to walk in front of a train. Some people have seen that as her saying "You reunited me with my son, so I'm going to reunite you and your son with your wife who died in childbirth". Others have seen it as the ghost is still pissed and still vengeful and sees his efforts as him giving her the finger and is going to take his son for meddling in her affairs. I'm more willing to side with this conclusion because it goes along better with the ending in the book. People have said that she is just being a bitch because he still tried and even if his efforts didn't work, she is still out of line to say the least. But the thing you have to remember is, she isn't human anymore, and on top of that, she came back out of hatred and anger. If that is all that governed her when she was alive, there isn't much chance she'll be motivated by much else after death. In her years as a ghost, she's probably forgotten what compassion and forgiveness feel like. Keep in mind, there isn't anything compassionate about killing children and sheoparding their souls in the hereafter.