Friday, December 17, 2010

Change the scheme! Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you'd be so kind.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Tron has always had a special place in my heart. Despite it's extremely dated graphics (compared to today's standards at least) and it's pretty cheesy dialogue, I always enjoyed the story and the acting, especially that of Jeff Bridges. For a young gaming nerd like myself it was a dream movie. But unlike Star Wars/Trek and some of the other sci-films I loved from my youth, Tron seemed to disappear from the minds of most movie goers. If you asked them they would probably remember it, but it would take a second. Maybe it was because the impact of Tron wasn't as significant as that of Star Wars or Alien but if you ask me it was because Disney was ashamed of the movie. Why? Well in recent months there has been news about the original Tron's conversion to Blu-ray and it being done and released just in time for the second movie's release. Well Disney wasn't having any of that because it halted the films release and pushed it back to an undisclosed date "in the future." On top of that, the once easy to find Tron on DVD, became a rare find that would cost more than 100 dollars to buy from most major online retailers. And how did it become so rare? Disney stopped making copies of the film. It was fine releasing Snow White for the 5th time but not Tron? There's something wrong there.

But enough of my ranting, you came here for a reason, that reason being to hear my thoughts on the second Tron movie, Tron: Legacy. As a fanboy of the original you probably think I'm just going to give this 5 stars and gush about how great it was. But you would be wrong. While Tron: Legacy is by no means a bad film, it is far from perfect and in some ways is a letdown for those who waited all this time for a sequel.
The film's story begins a few years after the original movie. Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) escaped the grid and became CEO of ENCOM. In this time he has also pimped the hell out of Tron, releasing video games, toys, and even a movie (cough cough) detailing his adventures in the grid. He's also had a son named Sam, who's extremely fascinated by the grid and one day hopes to follow in his father's footsteps by taking over ENCOM and going into the grid himself. We come into the movie as Kevin re-tells the story of Tron to Sam, right before he leaves to go to work. Kevin leaves and is never seen or heard from again. This devastates the young Sam and despite being the major shareholder of the company, he refuses to take control of ENCOM, even sabatoging it on occasion, almost out of spite for his father's leaving.

One day, right after Sam (Garret Hedlund) gets done sabatoging the newest edition of ENCOM's software by releasing it free to the public (much to the chagrin of the executives), Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) comes to Sam and says that he got a message from his father and that he should go to the arcade and see what it's all about. It turns out to be a trap as Sam is sucked into the grid, just like his dad.

This is when the film gets it's first major fault: the plot after Sam enters the grid. At first glance it seems pretty straightforward, but the more you think about it, the more complicated it really is. The film is so pre-ocupied with it's own lore and how every little thing works, that it can become lost on even the biggest Tron fan. Unless you've read every book or played every game, you will scratch your head at some of the elements of the story. It's not a terrible story per se but there are a lot of moments that are just people explaining the world in great detail. These pad out a lot of the middle part of the grid story and become kind of a chore to watch. If not for Bridges being as great of an actor as he was, I honestly would have fallen asleep.
Since I'm on the topic, acting is a also a bit of a high and low spot for the movie. Bridges, as the mysterious creator Kevin Flynn as well as the main villain CLU 2.0 (they Zemmeckisized him to make him look 30 years old) is great in both roles, playing the malicious dictator and the zen master perfectly. Olivia Wilde is also great, although the writers seem at a bit of a loss as to what to do with her. Most of the time she is just eye candy, staring blankly into space or at Sam and Kevin. But when she does do something she is quite good and it only solidifies my feelings that she is someone who will seriously become a major acting threat in the years to come. But this is where the praise stops. Garret Hedlund as Sam is just plain boring. He's as interesting as dry wall. He delivers his lines fine but there is no umph to him. Bridges just acts circles around him almost to the point of embarrasment.

But the biggest acting blunder is Michael Sheen as Zeus/Castor. Sheen himself is a great actor and I've loved most of his work. But in his 10 or so minutes on screen, he sucks the life out of the movie almost completely and is almost painfully awkward to watch. Imagine Ziggy Stardust with the personality of Jack Sparrow, Alex from Clockwork Orange and Drop Dead Fred combined. While he does deliver one of my favorite lines in the film, almost all of his dialogue is poor attempts at humor mixed with really painful wordplay. His attempts at being clever fail epically and he really almost ruins the movie. That being said his role is short (thank God) and wasn't dragged on for too long.

My only other complaint is that the 3D is used almost exclusivly for depth and not for any real in your face kind of action. The depth is cool but to a lot of people, myself included, the 3D needed more to be significant. The visuals themself though are quite astounding and are almost breathtaking to watch. A lot of time and effort was put into making the visuals as crisp and as beautiful as possible. Colors pop, derezzes are fun to watch, aircrafts and trains look out of this world and the world itself just has a sense of epicness. Throw in one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard by the amazingly talented Daft Punk and I'm willing to forgive the 3D's lack of creativity.

It may not be the spectacular follow up I was hoping for but in the end Tron: Legacy is an enjoyable film and one that I don't regret spending money on. Will I remember it 10 years from now like I will the original? Probably not. But considering the shoes they had  to fill, I respect Disney for at least trying to bring Tron back into the limelight, even if it's only for a brief moment. Oh well...back to the grid I go.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Who are you, and how did you find me? " "I know not who you are, nor how I came to find you, but may I just say... Hi. How you doin'? "

 Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

You know what never gets old? The look on people's faces when I say I love the Disney Princess movies. It's a confused look mixed with a hint of concern. If you don't know me it's usually followed up with either "Are you gay" or "Were you forced to watch them" but those who do know me well enough are like "Okay." But it's funny whenever I pop that little trivia out because it seems if your a guy (at least in this day and age) you can't like the Princess movies without garnering some attention.

Why does that little factoid matter? Well it's the look I got from the guy at the box office when I got my tickets to Disney's latest animated film Tangled. Created by Disney legends Glen Keane, John Lasseter, and Byron Howard, Tangled is the re-imagining of the classic tale of Rapunzel and follows the Grimm version closer then any other version I've read. It stars Mandy Moore as the titular character, Zachary Levi as the dashing Flynn Rider and Donna Murphy as the evil Mother Gothel. One interesting note, besides this being Disney Animation Studios 50th film, is that this is the first CGI Disney Princess film. Maybe ol Lasseter is rubbing off on them.
 The plot is familiar to those who have read the tale but it does put it's own unique spin on things. A single drop of sunlight creates a magical healing flower that can make someone young forever if you sing a special song. Mother Gothel, an evil old hag, finds it and hides it from everyone. Meanwhile at the castle, the Queen about to have her baby but gets really sick. The only cure it seems is the flower and in a moment of clumsiness, Gothel knocks the cage hiding the flower over and the guards take the flower. The Queen gives birth to a girl, whose hair now has the powers of the flower. Soon after she is born Gothel steals her and uses her hair as a lifetime supply of youth, which the girl seems to not notice since Gothel puts on the ruse of being the girl's mother.

There is one hitch in Gothel's plan though: the kingdom releases lanterns into the sky and this fascinates Rapunzel to no end, so much so she's made it her mission in life to see them up close. Flashforward 18 or so years and Rapunzel is grown up and wants to leave. Gothel is against this obviously but with the help of a thief named Flynn Rider, who happens upon her tower after stealing a tiara, Rapunzel leaves and ventures with Flynn, who agrees to help on the basis that he gets said tiara back.
 The story and writing is probably one of the movies biggest triumphs. The story is something we've all heard to the point of punchline but it feels fresh and original enough that we never really get bored with the story. For one Rapunzel is no pushover. She is a spunky little thing who can use her hair as a multi-tool and really likes getting her way (to a point...I mean she's not rude about it). The character of Flynn is also a real character and not a caricature of a prince or hero type we've seen before. He's not that strong but what he lacks in strength he makes up for in charm, wit and street smarts. Imagine a animated Nathan Drake of sorts for those who know what I'm talking about. The only static characters it seems are the Royal Family (who never speak oddly) and Gothel. Although with her it's understandable since without an established villain, it wouldn't be a Disney Princess movie.

The writing is really brought out well thanks to the superb voice-work throughout. Mandy Moore is great as Rapunzel, mixing elements of classic Princesses as well as the modern teenage girl. She has the big singing voice and bright eyed perkiness we're used to, but it's grounded by her wit, wild mood swings (one of the biggest laughs for me) and her sass. She's also not pining over a man either with her eventual (come on did you really think otherwise) relationship actually feeling organic. Levi is great as well and further proves that he is someone to really look out for in the future, whether voice-work in this film or on television with Chuck. He has great comedic timing and charm but also a sensitivity that some comedic actors don't have. Murphy is good as well but she does feel a bit like all other Disney villains...well maybe a little more neurotic but still familiar.

The one problem I had with this movie was the music. I love musicals and some of the music was decent (the two highlights being a hilarious song in a dive bar and the obvious love song between the two) but for the most part it was meh. It's not that they sounded bad or were overly cheesy, but they just lacked that umph that other Disney musicals have. Best example: Gothel. Her re-occurring villain song is "Mother Knows Best" an I-can't-keep-a-consistent-time song that's mostly talk sing and honestly pretty dull. It overstays its welcome and puts a damper on the scene that led up to it. The rest aren't as bad but feel cookie cutter. It wasn't enough to make me hate the movie but enough to keep it from being a Disney classic.

Tangled is a well made, well written, well acted Disney Princess film and shows that Disney Animation Studios still has some life in them. It's not the best Disney Animated Studios film (not helped by meh music) but it's a great family film and definitely worth checking out.


PS: I watched it in 2D but I've heard the 3D was good.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Before you do anything you have to ask yourself if you can do it. If you can't do it, don't'll just get someone killed

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

French films seem to be getting remade a lot these days. And if not remade then there are certainly plenty of movies lately that base their premise on a French film. The Next Three Days is one of those films. Based on the French thriller "Pour Elle," (which is fantastic if you ever get a chance to watch it) The Next Three Days is the newest film from famed screenwriter and short lived show mastermind Paul Haggis. Best known for his work on Crash, the past two Bond films and The Black Donnelly's, Paul Haggis returns to the director's chair for a fourth time to deliver us a tense thriller that relies heavily on convenience rather then reality.
Russell Crowe plays John Brennan, an English Professor at the local Community College, whose wife Lara was arrested and convicted of murder. John believes it was a case of wrong place, wrong time but all of the evidence points to Lara and so most of his appeals get shot down immediately. John, between appeals work, is also tasked with taking care of their young son Luke who seems to have taken Lara's departure the hardest. He is quiet, anti-social, and practically ignores his mom at the jail, which is something that worries both John and Lara. John keeps to himself mostly but during all this meets Nicole (Olivia Wilde), a young mother whose daughter has taken a liking to Luke. She is apparently the only person outside of the justice system that he has told about Lara's incarnation.

After spending three years in prison, Lara attempts suicide and that causes John to shift his focus from getting her out legally to getting her out in any way possible. He consults Damon Pennington (Liam Neeson), a man who has escaped prison multiple times, and he gives John all the information necessary for him to break his wife out of prison. The problem is if he can't do it successfully, Luke is going to grow up without both of his parents, and that keeps John hesitant throughout the first half of the film.
The second half picks up the in the action department and it's also where the films flaws rear their ugly head and the biggest problem is believability. Now I realize that movies are meant to be fiction (unless said otherwise and even then) and in films if you want to move the plot along you have to have things happen at convenient times so that the hero can accomplish his goal. Well in this movie conveniences happen to everyone and that really throws off the reality of it all. 

I can understand John handling and using a weapon. If people were shooting at me I could turn into Rambo pretty quick. What I DON'T understand is a detective looking at a Prius key and knowing it's automatically John. Or a detective seeing John puke after a visit to the prison and thinking "He's going to break his wife out of prison next week." Actually most of these stretches are courtesy of the police, who are apparently gods and can make no mistakes. Even when they do make a mistake, they rally in no time and are right on them. I know police officers and I have never seen an entire city's police force centralized on two people, on foot mind you, and be able to respond to whatever direction the detectives tell him in 10 seconds. I call bulls**t. I know it may seem minor to some people but when it's used in succession as much as it is in the second half it gets eye rollingly obvious that they were running out of script.

Besides that though the only other problem is throwaway characters. I mention Olivia Wilde and Liam Neeson in the synopsis but really they are in the movie together a combined 15-16 minutes (and that's mostly Wilde). I understand cameos but when you base almost your entire marketing campaign on one man's 5 minute speech, it can be disappointing to realize that that speech was it. As for Wilde's character she is never really fleshed out enough and her character is left with a giant "Well what did she do?" moment that never gets answered. I have a feeling it's on a cutting room floor somewhere.
The film is actually pretty well done though on the acting and the technical side. It's paced nicely, the camera work is great, the soundtrack is intense and all of the actors, especially Crowe and Banks, give it their all as their characters. Despite being built like a construction worker in the summer, you could believe Crowe was a mild mannered teacher. And Banks, whose mostly known for comedy roles, gives a great dramatic performance of a woman wrongly accused. Neeson and Wilde are good in their small parts but only Neeson really stands out. His speech is epic and extremely well delivered. If I take anything away from the film it will be his speech.

The Next Three Days is one of those hard ones to rate. It's a good film but it suffers from throwaway characters, plot holes and conveniences that not even Sherlock Holmes could figure out on his own. But I do believe it IS worth seeing if you're willing to turn a blind eye to realism and hopefully you enjoy the ride.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Where's Micah?" "He...he uh..wasn't up for hanging out today."

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

As many of my readers will know, I loved the first Paranormal Activity. What some people don't know is up until Paranormal Activity I really didn't like "found footage" films. I mean I had seen Cannibal Holocaust (if that counts) and Blair Witch but really I wasn't into the whole idea of home video films. As someone whose done a number of low budget (and I mean like me and a few friends) horror films, I thought that if these kind of films could get released and make millions but ours couldn't it was a bit unfair. But then, after being nagged by my friends, I went and saw Paranormal Activity and I was genuinely unnerved. It made me scared of my shadow. And it took me a while to figure out why. The Exorcist, Dawn of the Dead and The Descent were all scary in their own right but what PA did differently was that it relied on subtlety and realism, something that the aforementioned films don't have.

And since it made a huge profit it was a no brainer that they would make a sequel. But does it suffer from the usual sequelitis that other films tend to have? Surprisingly no. It's not as good as the first one, but it's still damn good.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"I remember the CIA being a lot tougher." "Me too."

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Warren Ellis's three issue mini-series RED was one of those comics I never thought would get a movie, or at least a movie that was a direct adaptation. Why? Because for one the comic wasn't all that good. Despite it only having three issues, I was really disappointed that the plot could be written on my middle finger. That and there is one issue that has barely any talking and might as well just be pictures for about 10-20 pages. I'm not a comic snob by any means but I expected more to say the least, especially given the concept. 

But enough about the comic, is the film any good? Well yes, yes it is. It did what I hoped and was nothing like the comic whatsoever. It kept the basic outline of the story but expanded and added so much more to it that it went from potentially an Edge of Darkness rip off to a great action comedy ensemble piece featuring some of my favorite actors.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Don't apologize." "Why?" "You're a grown's embarrassing."

 Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

I really wanted to like this movie. Despite the poor reviews and the whole "This was filmed in 2006, nobody would buy the film until 2009 when it was released in the UK and then a year later in the US" thing I had hope for this one. The trailers made it out to be either the 2010 answer to Orphan or a ghostly thriller (the two trailers were completely different, also not a good sign) and sadly it's the former. I had nothing against Orphan, just like I had nothing against the Omen, but I don't find little girls scary unless they're in a Kubrick film.

But why did I want to so desperately like it? Because Christian Alvart is a good director (see his German thriller Antibodies for proof) and while I initially hated Pandorum I now think it's kind of interesting space thriller that even when I hated  it, I thought it was well shot and put together nicely. So imagine my disgust when I left Case 39 and it was extremely underwhelmed and disappointed. It does have some saving graces that keep it from being on par with Ghost Ship or other craptastical horror films but it's still by no means great.

Bulls make money. Bears make money. Pigs? They get slaughtered.

 Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

The one question I keep getting asked about the new Wall Street movie is whether or not there really needed to be a sequel. The first one didn't exactly leave a giant hole that only a sequel could fill so why make a sequel? And why now?

Well it's pretty simple actually: the market has changed a lot since the 80s. Since then we've gone through (and are apparently "over") a recession and the economy isn't as strong as it once was. With that in consideration, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps seems like a really smart thing for Oliver Stone to have done. Gordon Gekko inspired a generation of Wall Street businessmen and changed the way we looked at greed forever. Ask any Wall Street guy alive in the 80s and he could probably quote Wall Street and Glengarry Glen Ross in his sleep, backwards and forwards. I don't know about the rest of you but I sure did miss the Gekko.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Where have I been?

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Betcha haven't heard that line in a while. Hey readers, whoever happened to stumble upon my page or Robert Pattinson enthusiasts who wan't my head on a stake, I am back...for the most part. It has been almost an entire month since I posted my review of Piranha 3-D and ever since then I have been getting e-mails asking where I've been, if the site is dead and what my address is (don't ask). Well if you follow my personal Facebook page at all or know me personally than you know 50% of what I've been doing and for the rest of you I will explain after the break. 

If you honestly don't want to hear me explain in great detail where I've been, just know that the site is alive and I am back.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Alexandre Aja's films have always been a mixed bag. His first film "Furia" was panned and completely ignored by the general public. His second film "High Tension" was raved as an equally great and equally horrible film by fans and critics alike. His third film "The Hills Have Eyes" was better received by critics, but still mostly disliked by the general public. Then P2 came out which I enjoyed, but most people didn't. And Mirrors was panned by everybody. So needless to say he hasn't had the best track record with critics and the general public.

"I know what you are." "Say it. Out loud say it." "Jonas Brother."

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

It's such an easy target. Vampires and werewolves have dominated the past 5 or so years in terms of literature, film and television. And besides True Blood and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer, all vampire and werewolf related entertainment has sucked. The Twilight series, book and movie, have turned a once awesome creature of death into a sparkly, abstaining pussy and an evil creature of death into a sensitive, shirtless dweeb. The book series is dumb and ends on a weird, anti-climatic note and there are some really questionable and weird side plots. Are they the worst books ever? No. But are they worthy of being practically worshiped in the eyes of teens and middle aged mothers' everywhere? Absolutely not. And the first two films were horrible pieces of unwatchable crap. The third one wasn't all that bad if you knew what to expect and I do honestly hope that the two final films are actually pretty good.

Either way, making fun of Twilight and this whole vampire/werewolf craze should be easy. Whether it's the sparkle jokes, the abstinence joke, the werewolves are gay jokes, the baby love jokes, the bad dialogue jokes, the pretty boy jokes, the fan jokes, the team Edward/Jacob's easy. My friends and I could write 100 pages worth of really funny jokes based on Twilight. So when I heard a spoof movie was made based on and around Twilight, I was willing to give the notorious directors of Disaster/Epic/Date Movie the benefit of the doubt.

What is going on here?

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

If you listened to The Demented Encyclopedia or have periodically read my site then you will know that I am a huge fan of That Guy With The Glasses, specifically Noah Antwiler of The Spoony Experiment. Well about a month or so ago he posted a Riff (his version of a Rifftrax) of an ENTIRE movie called After Last Season. After a day though the creators asked him to take down the video and instead Noah just posted an iRiff on There was one problem though, I watched the first ten minutes and had to see the end. So I went to Amazon and bought the DVD along with the iRiff and watched it. It was amazing. But out of curiosity I decided to watch the film without the riff and just on it's own merits. Well I can safely say this makes Nudist Colony of the Dead and the Room look like Academy Award Winners.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Movie Meme Day 18-Favorite Title Sequence

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

I love the Bond movies. On my top 3 list of favorite film series this ranks third, just below Star Wars and The Matrix. But even though Bonds have been swapped, directors have changed and it seems that we are on a permanent standstill when it comes to the future of the series (film wise...Blood Stone, the next original Bond adventure is coming in game form) the Bond films have always been awesome. And if you ask any guy, he will tell you that he has dreamed of being Bond at one point or another.

One of the trademarks of Bond is the title sequences. While Carly Simon's classic song in "The Spy Who Loved Me" was brilliant, my favorite Bond intro has got to be Casino Royale. It's epic, it gets you pumped and it sets the stage nicely for an amazing film.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Movie Meme Day 17-Favorite Film Series

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Look I am probably going to get a lot of flack for this one. But if you are going to comment and just say "You're wrong (enter series) is a lot better," save it. The Bond series is amazing and my number 3 favorite, and by a millapoint Star Wars is number 2. By that I mean it switches up all the time and it has for years. But when I really sit down and think...The Matrix is and always will be my favorite series. The message, the action, what it did for special effects, the allegories to many different themes and religions, it's a brilliant series.

Plus it has Agent Smith. It's hard to beat Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Who sent you?" "Your hairdresser!"

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

I absolutely love the 80s. While I WAS born in the 90s (91 to be exact), I've always loved the music, the fashion, the television and most importantly the movies of the 80s. One genre of 80s film has always stuck out to me though: action. Whether it was Stallone with Rambo, Arnold Schwarzenegger with Predator, Commando or Terminator, or Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal with their mass amounts of films I've always loved 80s action films. They are loud, violent, and don't really NEED a plot or great, memorable characters to make you want to watch. They had shit blowing up, people getting shot and stabbed and they looked cool doing it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Who do you suspect?" "Nobody...and everybody. That's where you come into play."

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

I was a little late to the party when Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy first came out. Then again, I always am. Why? Well after reading and obsessing over Harry Potter when it first came out I learned that there will always be bigger fans of things than me. And when the inevitable movie, television show ect comes out, I will be grouped with these fans who make me seem like a total noob. So whenever I'd go to a release of one of the films or one of the books I would always feel out of place since they were all decked out in wizard gear and they had memorized all the spells. I mean I liked the books a lot but I don't obsess. I'm a geek, not a nerd (there IS a difference).

So as time went on more series I read became popular (Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Dead Until Dark, Twilight, and a myriad comic books/graphic novels) I started getting that same Harry Potter feeling I had before and stepped back away from following the masses. So when the time was right I dug into the Millennium trilogy and I have to say that they are fantastic books. I could say a lot about them in detail but Wikipedia will pretty much tell you everything that I could and probably better (I suck at explaining).

Movie Meme Day 15-Favorite Musical

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

If you've read my review of Phantom of the Opera, then you will know that not only is Phantom of the Opera one of my favorite films, but also my favorite musical. The songs really resonate with me and hit close to home, and every now and again I'll hum some of the songs to myself. That and Gerard Butler and Emmy Russum are great singers.

I will say though it was almost a tie with Dr. Horrible and Repo the Genetic Opera.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Movie Meme Day 14-Favorite Black and White Film

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

"Favorite Black and White Film." This one was tougher than I expected it to be. So many great black and white films have been released. Battleship Potemkin, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Birth of A Nation, Triumph of the Will, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, The Gold Rush, It's A Wonderful Life, and many many more. But it wasn't until recently, thanks to Ryan over at A Life in Equinox that I discovered this little gem of a movie he's mentioned once or twice: "Seven Samurai." He could probably talk days about how and why it's the greatest film ever but I can say that it is definitely a great film. Is it my favorite? No. But is it one of the best made? Probably. But it is my favorite black and white film that's for sure.

There are five girls missing, and you put the one person who knows where they are to sleep?

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

As most people who are long time readers and friends of mine know, The Descent is, in my opinion, one of the best horror films ever made and of the scariest films ever made. On top of being bloody, gory and dark, this film had a big heart with its characters as well as it's great manipulation of the blackness to create tension and suspense. And the big twist ending is such a "Ah yeah...that's good" kind of ending.

So when I heard that they had made a sequel which would be released straight-to-DVD in the US, I was both angry and confused. There didn't NEED to be a sequel. There was no reason why we needed to re-do a film like this. Even Neil Marshall, the director of the original, opted out of directing the film, instead only executive producing. Instead the EDITOR from the first movie is directing it. That's never a good sign when the original director steps down.

The more I read about the film, the more it both simultaneously pissed me off and intrigued me. It didn't get the glowing praise that the first one got, but it also wasn't being panned by critics either. It was going under the "more of the same" category with an average of three stars. So eventually I headed over to the video store and picked this one up and gave it a watch. And while not as good as the's not half bad.
Picking up two days after the original, Sarah (the only survivor from the original) is found and hospitalized after going through the Hell that was the first film. Shortly after arriving at the hospital, the sheriff of the town starts investigating what happened. When he finds that the blood that was stained on her shirt belonged to Juno (the kinda maybe other survivor), he gets his deputy to drag her out of bed and take her to the caves to look for the rest of the team. They find a new entrance and with the help of three specialists, the sheriff, the deputy, Sarah and the three specialists are going back into the caves.

It's not a bad plot overall. You can see the twists coming a mile away and it kinda leans heavy on the jump scares but it does it's job well. I was surprised at how much more of the cave dwellers you saw and how much they changed since the first movie (they look like goblins now), as well as how much violence and gore there was. I was disappointed that besides Sarah and the deputy you really don't learn or care that much about the characters, but for a horror film I don't expect TOO much development. For what it was, the writing was solid enough and the film didn't overstay it's welcome.
The one big gripe I always have about sequels, especially direct-to-DVD ones, is that they take the really solid cast of the first one and squander it, only giving the original characters brief cameos of a movie that was much better. Well the good news, and one of the best things about Part 2, is that they got all of the original actresses back. Despite all but two being dead, it IS nice seeing everybody again. And it's especially good since they are great actresses. Juno feels like an evil Lara Croft and Sarah, while suffering from amnesia in the beginning, gives it her all as the brave heroine yet again. The new actors are kind of meh horror fodder but do the job well enough. That and most of them are there just to be killed so hey, whether they are great or not doesn't matter if they get ripped in half ten minutes in.

One of the things I loved about the original was the cinematography and the masterful score. Well the great thing is that this still has that great feeling of claustrophobia and the fear of the unknown like the original, and the ambient noises and the silence accentuated suddenly by a blasting score is something to behold. While I'd seen it all done before, it's one of those "If it ain't broke don't fix it" kind of things.

Despite all this praise I DO have some gripes. It overstays it's welcome slightly and it's easy to spot places where it could have been trimmed down. The supporting cast, like I said, really does lack compared to the original actresses, and the revealing of the cave dwellers earlier on and more so than the original is a bit of a let down considering how creepy and mysterious they were before. Now they're pissed off orc goblins who have heightened hearing. My only other gripe is that you can TELL Marshall wasn't involved. Considering how much he made the first one his own, you can tell that he pretty much just slapped his name on it and said "There." At least with Smokin Aces 2 you could tell Carnahan had SOME part in it.
Gripes aside, The Descent Part 2, while not as good as the original, is a solid follow up and worth a look even to those who were skeptic like myself.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Movie Meme Day 13-Favorite Animated Film

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

"Favorite Animated Film." Now I could have gone a lot of ways with this one. I could have gone for the more adult oriented cartoons like Studio Ghibli, or I could have gone with any of the outstanding Pixar films (besides Cars) or even any of the older classic Disney films. But when I think favorite animated film, only one comes to mind. If you read my "Movies That Defined Me"
post then you will know I already put in my top spot for animation on that list. Well the same goes for this meme. I'll put up an extensive review why later but for now I will say it's my favorite because it gets better with age in terms of humor and content, the message is great and it's still funny.

The Walking Dead Chapter 1-Days Gone By

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

If you remember back at the beginning of the month I did a post about The Walking Dead. In it I said that it was one of my new favorite comics and that I was going to start a new feature on TME where I review The Walking Dead Chapter by Chapter. Well 13 days later I am here again and what better day to start analyzing a zombie apocalypse graphic novel than on Friday the 13th? So without further ado...

Chapter 1-Days Gone By
Plot Outline-
The story begins with Rick Grimes, a Kentucky sheriff, and his partner Shane right in the middle of a gunfight. Things aren't going too well for the cops and so in a spur of the moment decision Rick decides to try and flank him. This gets Rick shot which sends him into a coma.

Rick awakens about a month or so later from his coma to find a deserted hospital. He puts on his clothes and looks around to see where everybody went. After searching for a while he gets on the elevator and goes down a few floors to the cafeteria. When he gets off though he sees a dead body. He freaks out and rushes to the cafeteria. When he opens the door he sees this:
Rick freaks and rushes out of the hospital after fighting some of these things off by himself. He sees more dead bodies strewn about and decides to head home hoping its some sort of isolated incident. Rick arrives at his house to find that his family is gone. He starts searching around but gets a shovel to the back of the head.

He awakens to find Morgan and Duane, a father and a son who are holed up in the house next door. They explain that there was a huge zombie outbreak and that all the people left alive are all in major cities apparently being protected. Rick figures Atlanta is the closest big city, so after getting some guns and a change of clothes (along with some weapons for Morgan), he heads off for Atlanta.

He arrives in Atlanta to find it overrun by zombies. A young man (in his 20s) named Glenn helps him out and together they escape the town, after grabbing a few essential items. Glenn explains what happened to most of the major cities (or at least Atlanta) and that the survivors are all holed up in an RV outside of town. Rick follows Glenn to the camp and there he is reunited with his wife Lori and son Carl as well as his partner Shane.
After the tearful reunion, Rick meets the rest of the crew and they all seem to live fine. The men hunt, the children play, the women cook and clean and all is well. All is well that is until one of the women gets attacked by a zombie. She isn't bitten thankfully but this inspires Rick to take Glenn to the nearest gun store in Atlanta to pick some up so he can teach everyone how to shoot.

Things are bumpy but Rick and Glenn DO get a lot of guns. The training is going well, some better shots than others of course, but when Rick suggests that they should maybe move somewhere else, Shane explodes at Rick. Shane settles down quickly though and things go back to normal.

Later that night at a campfire there is a giant zombie attack on the group. One of the women and one of the men die in the attack and the next day they hold a funeral. Rick explodes at Shane in an "I told you so" manner and when Shane violently retaliates, Lori scratches him. Lori and Shane had had a one night stand while Rick was out and this scratch puts Shane over the edge. He grabs his gun and storms off into the woods.

Rick tries to calm him but Shane's done talking. He says he HAS to kill Rick or things will only get worse. Right as Shane's about to shoot Rick, Carl shoots Shane in the throat, saving Rick's life. Carl crumples afterwards and the both of them cry as they have both lost a friend.

Character Development/New Characters-
Rick: Rick starts off in the series as a clean shaved, straight laced cop with an eye for justice. He is scared by all that has happened and after losing everything his only concern is his family. He loves his family more than anything and will do any and everything to protect his family, at the expense of his safety. As the chapter develops he becomes more of a leader figure and people start to look up to him.

Shane: Shane starts off a lot like Rick (clean shaved/straight laced/eye for justice) but after Rick goes into a coma, he starts to show his true colors when he makes his advances towards Lori. When he does finally find success with his advances, he is happy and hopes that everything stays the way it is. But when Rick shows up, he becomes angry and bitter and eventually cracks at the seems. His death, while sad, probably saved a lot more lives than Rick that day. A good example of what's to come in terms of what the characters go through.

The Rest: The rest of the group is a pretty tight nit community. They act and behave like not a whole lot has changed but due to the age of the group (for the most part), they need a leader to guide them and keep their heads out of the clouds. They are pretty competent though but some need more training than others. You see a lot of Dale and Andrea, which is a good foreshadowing since these two are really big main characters along with Glenn.

Action-This was an action packed intro. Escaping the city, the gun store raid, the campfire attack, the final fight between Shane and Rick as well as Rick's escape from the hospital...all great examples of action in this chapter. Not a whole lot of dull moments, and even those build tension. Great action.

Zombies-The zombies are much more violent in this chapter than normal. Part of that is probably due to the infancy of the outbreak as well as the sheer mass of all the zombies in the nearby cities. Once they spread out later on they become less violent than this (for the most part..the early chapters are quite violent)

Art Style-I don't really like the pre-Adlard artwork. It's okay but lacks realism. The borders are way too thick, faces and bodies way too big and feels a lot like a pilot. But it's not terrible, much better than a lot of comics, but once Adlard gets on board the art is brilliant.

Bottom Line-Great intro, great writing, great action, pick this one up!

Well that's it for the first chapter. Stay tuned for the second one coming soon.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Films That Defined Us

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Between the Hollywood Draft, my ever growing drafts and backlog of reviews, my me time and preparing for PAX, I nearly forgot about this really awesome blogathon/list that was created by Marc of Go, See, Talk. A regular poster at Anomalous Materials, Marc's site is a great one to visit if you get the chance. And lately in my inbox and for the past couple weeks I have been getting e-mails about this blogathon/list that he's trying to get off the ground due in part to the success of The Desert Island blogathon/list a while back that was extremely popular.

The topic? Movies that Defined Us. Movies in our impressionable years (aka till I was 13 or so for me) that shaped the way we look and view films. Well I've only been alive 19 years and up until I was 13 I wasn't allowed to watch R rated films. So no Taxi Driver, Godfather or the like on this list. The only reason there is even ANY R rated films on this list is because the one listed was the first one I ever saw. But this list is a great idea and one of the entries on the list is getting quite the treatment soon. And by that I mean my longest review to date.

The way I'm doing this is by category/genre. After I list the movie I will answer the questions that Marc put up regarding how it defined me:
  1. Why it dazzled me at a young age
  2. What still stands up about it
  3. Why you think it sets the standard for that genre
So without further ado let's get this started. First up...

The film: Dawn of the Dead (2004)
  1. It was the first R-rated film I got to watch by myself. When it first came out on VHS I was in that phase where I want to watch the best scary movie ever made. I had watched plenty of PG-13 ones and PG ones but never any R-rated ones until this one. That and the trailers looked awesome.
  2. It's without a doubt one of the best (in my opinion) remakes of a horror classic ever made. George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead was a cult classic that had a deep meaning, plenty of scares, and made zombies awesome. Zack Snyder's directorial debut takes out the meaning (which is a negative to some) but in it's place adds a lot of tension, action and drama that makes this an amazing film to watch.
  3. Most horror films nowadays ARE remakes, revamps, or re-do's of older films or other source materials (books, games ect). The problem is that most of them suck. Every now and again an original one comes out that is really good or there is a really good remake, but for the most part it's either PG-13 schlock or crappy, sexed up slashers. Dawn of the Dead is a remake with heart and intensity.
Next up...

Romance (I realize not in the traditional sense but dog lovers know what I mean)-
The film: Old Yeller
  1. It was the first film I ever watched on VHS. I had seen The Lion King when it was in theaters (very fuzzy memory though) but I had yet to watch a movie on VHS. It was mostly Pooh episodes for me. But then Mom picked up Old Yeller. I loved puppies. And I loved the first three/fourths of this film...then the ending happened. Yeah...try explaining why Yeller is getting shot to a 4 year old.
  2. It's a great story about a boy and his dog. The theme song is good, Yeller is a badass dog, and the acting still stands up as being really good. A great kids film with a scarring ending.
  3. Well for someone who has yet to see Gone With The Wind or most of those other romance films (besides Casablanca, I saw that), this was the closest thing to true love I saw as a kid. A boy loved his dog so much that when he got rabies, he had to be the one to put him down. And you could see he loved that dog.
Next up...

The Film: A Goofy Movie
  1. It's Goofy...I wish I could be more detailed but it's freaking Goofy. If you were a kid of the 90s who loved Goofy than this film was on your most watched list and was probably your favorite film of all time.
  2. Everything. In fact this movie gets better every time I see it. The more I see and analyze it and the older I get, the better it is. It is the film equivalent of wine. And you will hear more in my next review/meme/summer blogathon post which is devoted solely to this film.
  3. Most Animated films talk down to the audience and make jokes that are only relevant to kids or current pop culture. A Goofy Movie doesn't talk down, it's jokes are still funny and the references still stand up. It's a great animated film.
Next up...

The Film: Airplane
  1. My grandparents and my parents kept saying that this was one of the funniest movies of all time and that it would be appropriate for an 8 year old to watch. I had no idea what this movie was or who was in it but if they said it was funny than it must have been.
  2. It's quotability and humor as well as its memorable scenes and characters. Almost on a daily basis I find myself quoting SOMETHING from this movie (My most quoted is Shaun of the Dead). It's still as funny as it was years ago and I still love it (although I need to get it on DVD since the VHS is worn out)
  3. It's humor, characters, story and almost everything about the movie is timeless. You will always get a laugh out of the film and enjoy every minute. And it doesn't rely on raunch to be funny, something a lot of comedies haven't been able to do.
And Finally...

The film: Ghostbusters
  1. Back when I was growing up their was a cartoon called "The Real Ghostbusters" and "Extreme Ghostbusters." I had no idea what a ghostbuster was, but it was funny, they were kicking ass and taking names and it had ghosts. As a fan of Casper growing up I always loved ghosts. So when I learned these cartoons were based on a movie I was happy to watch it.
  2. The story is what really grabs me. To this day the story is engaging, full of wit, the characters are well developed, you really care about them, and it's just a fun ride from beginning to end. Plus ghost hunting will always be awesome. And the theme song. Show me one person who doesn't know the theme.
  3. It really showed that PG action/sci-fi can be entertaining for everybody and that if you have a great script with great characters and an awesome theme song, that a film can become timeless. It's still being shown regularly on TV, it's been released and re-released numerous times and they even made a video game sequel to the films in 2009. And it was a popular game...that's saying something.

Well that's my list. Hope you enjoy it. Be sure to check everybody elses.

Movie Meme Day 12-Best Soundtrack

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Going into this meme this was an extremely difficult one. So many great soundtracks, only one can be chosen. Despite my dislike of the film series, The Twilight Soundtracks are badass. Then there are all the Disney film soundtracks like A Goofy Movie and The Lion King. Then there are all the awesome scores like Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones.

But then Tuesday happened and the Scott Pilgrim Soundtrack was released. It is made of win.

Sex Bomb-Omb=Win
Crash and the Boys=Win
Scott Pilgrim Soundtrack=Epic Win

The Demented Encyclopedia Final Episode-I just BUTCHERED SPANISH!!

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

It's been a fun 20 or so weeks but even the best things have to come to an end eventually. That's right, The Demented Encyclopedia, which started as a project between two bloggers to get their voices heard on different topics (and American Idol), evolved into a LAMMY nominated podcast with some unforgettable moments, mostly due to our most listened to segment "The Mono-Dialogue of the Week." But due to work schedules, school, PAX, and just not having enough hours in the day, The Demented Encyclopedia is coming to an end.

Yeah it's a tragedy I know, but like I've said numerous times, it's not the end of Nick and Travis forever. Nick has been a great friend and podcast partner and I have a feeling that a reunion will happen someday.

But this episode was one that goes out with a bang. For almost an hour and a half we talk about our top 5 (and more) best cliffhangers of all time. Movies, TV, it doesn't matter. We spoil a shit-ton of movies and TV shows (just go to Nick's write up to get a list), have some great laughs, recommend some great things and have two amazing Mono-Dialogues. Even our ending is epic but you'll have to listen to find out.

It's been quite a run and hopefully you enjoy our last hurrah.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Movie Meme Day 11-A Movie That Disappointed You

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

"A Movie That Disappointed You?" Hmm...a lot of films disappoint me or make me cringe but in the way this meme is talking about I guess the only choice would be The Last Airbender. I expected so much from it based solely on the source material:
  • Great characters
  • Great story
  • Great CGI (Which it somewhat maybe had)
  • Great Fight Sequences
  • Great Acting
But nope I got nothing. Check my review for more but it really did disappoint me greatly.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Movie Meme Day 10-Movie Thought Wouldn't Like But Did

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

This was an interesting one. Usually when I see movies I know what to expect. Rarely do I ever get surprised. Sometimes it happens but usually it's a "Well that was better than I thought. Not great but not a trainwreck." But to LIKE a movie after already having in mind it would be bad? Only once has that happened. And that was with The House Bunny.

Total chick flick I know but Anna Faris is SO hilarious, so likable and so cute that she can make any movie funny and appealing to either gender. It has a cute story, good characters and it's funny. I was really surprised with this one.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Movie Meme Day 9-Best Scene Ever

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Today's was "Best Scene Ever." Boy that's a tough one. There are so many great movies with so many great scenes. In fact the film I picked had at least 3. But in the back of my mind I had this one:
The death of Malone in The Untouchables.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Movie Meme Day 8-Movie That Should Be Required High School Viewing

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Required High School Viewing? Easy...Breakfast Club. Great cast, great message, great representation of high school and high school life, and a kick ass theme song. Plus it's John Hughes so it automatically makes it essential high school viewing.