Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rock of Ages

Okay, this one is almost a month late, and for that, I sincerely and most unhumbly apologize. What I can say about this movie is that I have some mixed feelings about this movie, but I am more leaning to the side of "Buy this on Blu-Ray". For the most part, I liked this movie, though I take issues with it, but we can get to that later. What did I like about Rock of Ages? For one thing, this is a musical that is featuring my favorite kind of music: 80's rock n' roll, which means that is was a safe bet that I will be singing along to most of the songs (the soundtrack includes songs from Journey, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Bon Jovi) and it turns out that they were actually pretty kickass. The other thing that I liked about this movie were the characters played by Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand and Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise especially, because I am not the biggest Tom Cruise fan, but he does manage to impress my once in a while, this movie being one of those rarities. In this movie, he plays a rock god that is getting kind of fed up with the life he has and you can tell that he wants something more out of it. He is also pretty batshit crazy. In fact, I'm not even sure Tom knew he was being filmed, I think TMZ just followed him around for a week, and then the director stole the footage that they had on him and put it in the movie. So what didn't I like about this movie?  Well, I thought that the plot was pretty corny and cliche'd, but this is a musical so I didn't really expect more. And while I did like the music that was in it, I was not a huge fan of the voices that were singing them. They sounded alright, but the problem that I had was that they sounded very modern. When I hear 80's rock, I want to hear it being sung by Jon Bon Jovi or Klaus Meine, not somebody who sounds like Britney Spears or one of the Jonas Brothers. Thats more of a personal gripe than anything else. The other thing that bothered me about this movie is that it is starring Tom Cruise and he is NOT running away from something. That is horse shit.

Final Grade: B

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Could somebody refresh my memory on this? At some point last year, I had made a list of the top ten movies that I was looking forward to the most in the year 2012, and I am having a hard time remembering whether or not I had included this movie in the countdown. Either way, I can at least say that I was at least a little bit hyped for this movie. However, when I saw the trailer for this movie, the excitement that I had was a little diminished, especially when I heard the voice of the teddy bear and immediately thought "Peter Griffin as a bear", which was a bit of a letdown for me. I always knew that Seth MacFarlane was a talented voice actor and to hear him use a voice that he had already used a thousand times over was a bit of a cop out in my opinion. However, that didn't really keep me from wanting to see the movie. And to be honest, this movie didn't disappoint. It was nice to see Seth MacFarlane take a break from the political preaching that he has done so often on Family Guy and just give us a good fun comedy that was nowhere near clean or child-friendly. For starters, we have Patrick Stewart narrating and using phrases like "nobody gives a shit". Hearing that alone in the first five minutes of the movie had me pretty much sold. Even though we didn't get to hear Professor Xavier narrate anymore until the end of the movie, it was still a nice touch. A few other good pointers include Joel McHale as a slimy douchebag (or Joel McHale) and Mila Kunis as the girlfriend who loves Mark Wahlberg, but also wants him to get his life on track. Their relationship was pretty believable and you can at least see where both parties are coming from. And while I did have my doubts initially about the actual bear himself, I really do have to say that Seth did deliver playing the title character. Initially, I thought the deal with the bear was that he would have stayed in a child mindset while Mark Wahlberg grew up and matured. But having him grow up and, not exactly mature, was nice too. And I didn't feel like this was just Peter Griffin as a bear, I actually feel like I can detach the two characters and see them as they are. All in all, I would say that this movie was far from dissapointing and I plan on purchasing this one on blu-ray.

Final Grade: A+

Monday, July 9, 2012


Surprisingly, this is a movie that people really wanted me to see and really wanted to hear my opinion on. And it wasn't like Drive where they said I would really like it, they just wanted to hear what I had to say about it. I saw the movie a little over a week ago and haven't really had a chance to give a review on it. Having said that, I'm sorry. With all that out of the way, let's get onto the review. Being that this is a Disney movie and a Pixar one at that, it's a pretty safe bet that this is at least going to be good. The real question is "Will this movie be great?" Well, for me, honestly, I'm going to lean more to the "Negatory" side of that argument. Don't get me wrong, I liked the movie and had a lot of fun watching it, but it just wasn't on the caliber of some of the other Disney/Pixar movies that we have seen. For me, I would say that the three best movies to come from Pixar are Toy Story, Toy Story 3 and The Incredibles. All of them, I thought had the perfect amount of humor and heart which has made Pixar so legendary. Actually, I take that back. Incredibles had a lot more humor than heart, but that was definitely the Pixar movie that I had the most fun watching. That's the one that had me laughing the hardest. On the other end of the spectrum of Pixar movies would be Cars and Ratatouille. Cars was pretty 'meh' in my opinion and Ratatouille was all around pretty forgettable. Cars 2 is not even going on the list because that was just awful.

So, where does Brave sit? Actually, it probably sits right smack dab in the middle. It's good, but it had the potential to be great. It starts out nice enough, you really relate to the main character and what she wants to accomplish, but you also get where her parents are coming from and why they think she should act a certain way. The story is actually pretty mature while also being kid friendly, once again reminding us what makes Pixar so great. And then there is a certain point in the movie where it just kind of drops off and stops pursuing this really mature, almost adult storyline and just plays it safe. Like I said, that doesn't make the movie bad, but I would have really liked it if they kept pursuing that maturity rather than just playing it safe. There are parts that I like, I caught a few references to the movie Braveheart at certain points (though I'm not sure if this was paying homage or subtly ripping off), and the voice acting is pretty top notch. The two best ones being Billy Connolly as the main character's father (who I could sit and just listen to read the phone book all day) and Craig Ferguson, who just always brings a grin to my face. Again, while this movie isn't bad, I think this will be one of the more forgettable entries in the years to come. This will be the one that, when we talk about Pixar, we'll say "Hey, what about Brave? That was a good movie" To which we will have to remind ourselves that this was a good movie.

Final Grade: B