Sunday, February 27, 2011

83rd Annual Academy Awards Live Blog

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

Well it's the biggest night in film for bloggers like myself: THE OSCARS. And forgoing the usual predictions that I would do any other year, this year I am doing a live blog of the event. Why a live blog? Well honestly why not? That way my opinions can be literally fresh off the press when I get them. I'm not too keen on the Red Carpet usually, I just wait for the next week's issue of People or the Fashion Police on E! the next day, but if I see someone who looks really good I'll mention it. Otherwise during the show I will be posting as often as I can and hopefully you all enjoy.

So bookmark this page and stay tuned for a long night of awesome.

3:10: Saw Hailee Steinfield. She's actually looking really good tonight. She's wearing a pink Marchesa dress. Not sure she'll win tonight but I bet she's just excited to be there. Glad to see such young talent in today's Hollywood.

3:12: I don't know about ya'll but I think Jennifer Lawrence's Calvin Klein dress is really pretty. Red is a great color on her. Twitter doesn't seem to agree though lol. We'll see what the Fashion Police have to say afterwards.

3:14: Cheryl Hines, Virgina Madsen and Reese Witherspoon rocking the black...hopefully we'll see more black as the night goes on. Can't go wrong with black really. Expecting a lot of red and pink however. Maybe it's the whole Spring transition we seem to be going through right now.

3:20: I'm sorry I got distracted by Mila Kunis' hotness. Moving on.

3:25: Melissa Leo is looking gorgeous. What a classy lady. My pick to win Best Supporting Actress.

3:29: Russell Brand is here. Now it's a party. (Brought his mom..nevermind, he has to behave himself now lol)

3:30: Michelle Williams and Busy Phillips looking great. I love Busy on Cougar Town and Michelle is such a talented actress. I LOVED Blue Valentine (it was my pick for Best Film of the Year)

3:31: I wonder if Banksy is going to show up and if he does will it be masked or unmasked?
3:31: Just saw Mandy Moore. Have I seen that dress before? Looks familiar. Huh.

3:32: Amy Adams in lavender. B-E-A-utiful.

3:33: More red...and sequins. So many sequins lol.

3:37: A lot of focus on Michelle Williams and Melissa Leo it seems. And a lot of Ryan Seacrest being his usual self.

3:39: Anne Hathaway looks good, from the front. The back of her dress is weird. Oh well. Considering she will be changing about a dozen times tonight I figure she'll find something that looks good on her front AND back

3:41: I just heard the word nymphette. I'm switching over to E! for good. (Seacrest and all)

3:43: Jennifer Hudson in...take a But she looks stunning. Zachary Levi looks great too.

3:44: Tom Hooper's wife looks great. As much as I love David Fincher I kind of hope Tom Hooper wins Best Director.

3:46: Mark Ruffalo looks surprisingly good. So does Armie Hammer. Always expecting to see two of them though.

3:47: Damn I just lost 5 bucks. Geoffrey Rush is in fact NOT wearing a hat. He looks good though.

3:49: Florence Welch of Florence +the Machine is here. She's performing with A.R. Rahman since Dido couldn't. Can't wait to hear that.

3:51: Guliana Rancic and Kelly Osbourne look great. But when was the last time Guliana ate?

3:52: Watching Florence and A.R getting interviewed. I think I need subtitles.

3:53: Ryan Seacrest is on a pedestal. Cue twitter overflowing with short jokes

3:54: Glad to see Animal Kingdom getting it's due. Jacki Weaver looks great.

3:56: Scar-Jo and Cate Blanchett *whistle* DAYUM

3:57: Can't focus. Scar-Jo..............................

3:59: seems red, sequins AND lavender are big this year. Lavender is such a great color.

4:01: Liking Marissa Tomei being very conservative. She is so naturally pretty that she doesn't need a whole lot of color.

4:03: Jesse Eisenburg looks like he's wearing the same outfit that he's worn to every award show. Change it up dude.

4:04: Justin Timberlake also brought his mom. Good to see such an emphasis on family tonight. First Russell, then Mark and now Justin.

4:06: Kevin Spacey is hilarious. Gotta love him.

4:07: Sharon Stone (flash to Basic Instinct) *drool*

4:08. Aron Ralston seems like a really nice guy. Glad to see he's as popular as he is. A definite inspiration

4:10: A lot of standing around it seems. I think the stars are anxious to get in and actually eat something.

4:11: What the F**k is Miley Cyrus doing here?

4:13: Helena Bonham Carter actually looks fairly normal. Digging the sunglasses and the hair. I forgot how pretty she was. Her clutch is interesting though...

4:15: Celine Dion looks good. Also it seems like every guy is having a George Clooney-esque tuxedo off.

4:16: "Amy Adams, Mila Kunis, Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter...maybe we'll get some A-Listers soon." Are you HIGH?! They ARE A-Listers. They need to fire this chick.

4:17: Haven't seen any dresses that are just flat out ugly yet. But the night is young.

4:18: Danny Boyle is so damn awesome. And is a F+TM fan... interesting. Wonder if he had input on who replaced Dido

4:20: Is it just me or does Colin Firth seem bored? Aaron Sorkin seems like he's made a great turnaround.

4:21: Hugh Jackman's head has been doing the "How ya doin?" tilt for five minutes straight now. I wish he would host again.

4:22: Nicole Kidman Probably my favorite dress of the night so far. She's so damn pretty.

4:24: Hillary Swank is eh. Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz look great together. Penelope's red dress is stunning.

4:25: John Hawkes is really humbled by his nomination. He's a talented actor and while I'm not sure he'll win, if he did I wouldn't be totally surprised.
4:25: old is Steven Speilberg's daughter? She looks great. Kinda brunette Taylor Swift-esque.

4:26: "I don't know if the fans are screaming for me...they are probably screaming for Halle Berry." Kevin Spacey.

4:27: Speaking of Halle. DAYUM
4:27: Christian Bale rocking the beard. Can't wait to hear his acceptance Hell...WHEN he wins

4:29: Sandra Bullock looks great. No arm candy though it seems.

4:30: Rupert Murdoch walks by and everyone parts lol.
4:30: Bale almost looks like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. It IS an epic beard though.

4:31: Matthew McConaughey is not smiling. Just cuz your doing a serious film doesn't mean you can't smile.

4:32: I like the Black Carpet express lane lol. Gwenyth Paltrow looks great.

4:33: Red Carpet is slowing down a bit. If I don't post in like 3-5 minutes don't think I left. It's mostly stand central right now lol.

4:40: More and more people seem to be taking the fast lane.

4:41: It's the year of kids and moms it seems. What's better than a purse? How about your significant other.

4:42: Mark Wahlberg is here. He's looking really good. Wonder why he was the last of The Fighter crew to show up

4:43: Banksy is apparently at the Oscars in a black suit. Well gee that's specific. Glad he's here though. Wonder what he has planned.

4:44: That said, Mr. Brainwash aka Thierry Guetta looks like hell. Shave man! SHAVE!
4:44: Warren Beatty and Annette Benning look good together.

4:45 Apparently the person who did the costumes for Kings Speech did Helena's dress. Interesting.

4:46: Downey is as hilarious as ever. Wonder if Charlie Sheen will crash.

4:47: It seems Hathaway's date is also her designer. Huh

4:48: Why is Donald Trump here? Screw it...he's so rich he can show up anywhere he wants. He has good picks with his winners though. Kings Speech, Natalie Portman, Colin Firth, Melissa Leo and Christian Bale.

4:51: Bale is just chatting it up with RDJ. His little crowd is gathered in the middle and is most of what's left of the carpet.

4:52: 40 minutes till the Academy Awards...can't wait.

4:53: Anne Hathaway is the youngest female host. Huh...awesome.
4:53: Most people still waiting on Portman it seems.

4:54: Still no Portman is wearing purple...or red...or reddish purple. She looks great though. Crowd went nuts for her. A lot of black, lavender, red, and sequins still. Great colors today.

4:55: 5 minutes till people are shuffled into the building to get ready for the broadcast. And then 30 minutes till the show.

4:56: The one thing I love about the Oscar show: things take forever to happen so I'll have plenty of time to update things. Phew.

4:58: "I don't care what people think about my fashion." HBC. Gotta love her individuality...and the fact she's wearing a garter and British flag.

5:00: People are walking and waving their way into the building. Now comes the waiting. I'll be here all night giving you updates on the Oscars. So stay tuned and enjoy. And if I miss anything or you want other opinions be sure to check out Napiers News Live Oscar Update here

5:01: And here Tonight is going to be an epic night!

5:05: Since I have time though here are some of my picks
Best Picture-The King's Speech (although Social Network could win too)
Best Actor-Colin Firth
Best Actress-Natalie Portman
Best Supporting Actress-Amy Adams (that's right)
Best Supporting Actor-Christian Bale
Best Original Song-A.R Rahman
Best Art/Wardrobe/Hair and Make Up Awards-The King's Speech
Best Sound Editing/Design-Social Network (if you saw the work they put in)
Best Animated- Toy Story 3
Best Documentary-Exit Through The Gift Shop

Those are a few of my picks with a few awards smooshed together. I'd give a full list but these were just off the top of my head. Thoughts?

5:16: Apparently ABC still has some Red Carpet footage. Ooookay...Robin Roberts is one tall woman. She looks stunning though.

5:17: From what I've read there will be a lot of "Scenic Transitions" at tonight's whatever that means. Should be interesting though.
5:17: I will say I AM expecting Hathaway and Franco to do a Crystal esque intro and insert themselves into the Best Picture films. I'm calling that now.

5:23: 7 minutes. Getting anxious.

5:25: If Deadline's schedule is correct then tonight will surely be a great night. One thing I will say is it's nice there are only a few Best Original Song nominees because as much as I love musical performances, they kinda take up a lot of time that could be better spent on heartfelt speeches.

5:26: That said, seeing Florence+The Machine perform (or at least Florence) should be awesome. And Gwenyth...but your enjoyment probably depends on your enjoyment of country.

5:33: The little countdown video featuring the song they played during the rowing scene in Social Network was awesome. Nice showcase of all ten films. The Hathaway/Franco in the movie thing is as expected but pretty funny actually.

5:34: Alec Baldwin drinking Capri Ambien? Nice.

5:35: Can Morgan Freeman narrate my dreams too? lol.

5:36: You just got Inceptioned!

5:37: Back to the Future reference...with Delorian! SQUEE. Also
Alec Baldwin: Who are those two?
Morgan Freeman: I have no idea.

5:42: The opening monologue is actually pretty good. It's not one of the best by any means but Anne and Franco have good chemistry. That and James grandma saying "I just met Marky Mark" and Anne's mom saying "Stand up straight dear Steven Spielberg is here" was funny.

5:43: Art Direction and Cinematography presented by Tom Hanks. Talking about Titanic. Like we really needed more Cameron love in the building...sigh.

5:45: And the winner for Art Direction is: Alice in Wonderland!

5:47: And the winner for Best Cinematography is: Inception!

5:48: Already a good night of somewhat surprises. Hopefully tonight is a night of surprises...or at least where surprises should be (Natalie should certainly win her Oscar) Now for commercials.

5:52:Kirk Douglas is giving out Best Supporting Actress. He looks good for his age.

5:55: Kirk Douglas is a hoot. "Ya know..." followed by a delay. Hilarious. That and "All Australians think I'm hilarious. Colin Firth isn't laughing. He's British."

5:58: And the winner for Best Supporting Actress is: Melissa Leo..who seems shocked. Her speech is nice. Very emotional which is what I like to see

6:02: Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake are up presenting Best Animated Picture and Best Animated Short.

6:04: The Winner for Best Animated Short is: The Lost Thing

6:06: The Winner for Best Animated Film is: Toy Story 3. No surprise there. I'm still waiting to see Banksy...pretty sure he's not Justin Timberlake though lol.

6:12: Anne is back on and she is doing a segment on the first Academy Awards. It's a nice piece. Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem are up doing Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay

6:13: The winner of Best Adapted Screenplay is: Aaron Sorkin. Good for him. He really needed this. His speech is nice too.

6:15: The winner of Best Original Screenplay is: David Seidler for The Kings Speech. A very well written movie. His speech is funny, brief and entertaining.

6:22: I gotta say this night has actually been pretty smooth so far. No bands, no real mess ups (besides Melissa Leo's brief F bomb lol) and really no delays except for Kirk Douglas' hilarious delay during Best Supporting Actress.

6:25: Hathaway and Franco switch outfits...ha... Hathaway sings about Hugh Jackman and Franco makes a Charlie Sheen joke. Classy as always. Next up is Russell Brand and Helen Mirren presenting Best Foreign Film.

6:28: The winner of Best Foreign Film is: In a Better World. I've been meaning to watch this one but I've heard it's good. Well apparently...since it won the Oscar and all.

6:30: Next up is Reese Witherspoon to give out the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

6:32: The winner of Best Supporting Actor is: Christian Bale...looking Jesus like as ever.

6:35: Bale's speech was very heartfelt. It was nice to see Dickie and his love he showed for his wife and kid was also very touching. I will say he is starting to sound more British than Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush combined.

6:38: I've been pretty correct so far with my predictions. I will say I've been 100% correct according to my ballot I did two weeks ago but my tonight predictions have been iffy so far lol.

6:40: Now it's time for the President of the Academy to talk aka bathroom break. Be right back. Next up though is supposedly Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman to present the award for Best Original Score...along with a scenic transition of the history of movie music.

6:41: The movie music piece is actually really awesome. And hey who doesn't love Star Wars?

6:44: The winner of Best Original Score is: The Social Network. Very deserving of the award. If you saw the feature on the music on the Blu-ray you'll know what I mean when I say they deserved it.

6:46: Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johanson are out to present Best Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.

6:47: The winner of Best Sound Mixing: Inception! Happy to see Inception win another award. The sound was amazing in that movie.

6:50: The winner of Best Sound Design: Inception! Once again very happy for the film. That street scene is perfect proof as to why it deserves the award too.

6:54: Marissa Tomei is out to talk about the Sci-Tech Awards

6:56: Cate Blanchett talks about Lord of the Rings before presenting the Best Make up and Best Costume Oscars

6:58: The winner for Best Makeup: The Wolfman. Kinda surprised but the make up was about the only good thing in that whole movie so...good for them

7:00 The winner for Best Costume is: Alice in Wonderland. It's second award tonight, apparently the Oscars love the look and design of Alice in Wonderland. I will admit the costumes WERE cool though.

7:01: Next up is a Movie Music I Remember tribute video. Some good songs in there. Glad to see Obama involved.

7:02: Kevin Spacey is up to introduce Randy Newman performing his nominated song.  Spacey is awesome performing a bit from Top Hat and introducing himself as Clooney. Always worth a laugh.

7:04: Newman was good. Spacey then introduces Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore.

7:06: Levi was surprisingly good, as I haven't seen him sing much (or really at all besides one song) and Moore was good as well. Now they got the Disney songs out of the way. We'll see if they do the other two after the break.

7:12: Guess not. Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams are up are presenting Best Documentary and Live Action Short.

7:13: The winner of Best Documentary Short: Strangers No More

7:15: The winner of Best Live Action Short: God of Love

7:17: Now for a comedy bit in which scenes from movies are autotuned are turned into songs. Pretty funny actually.

7:19: Oprah is presenting Best Documentary. Her speech is long but really poignant. I enjoyed it.

7:22: The winner for Best Documentary is: Inside Job. This pisses me off. Especially considering I thought Inside Job was boring and not that well done. Sad that they brought Banksy and one of the Restrepo soldiers all the way to the Academy Awards for nothing...damn

7:27: Up next is Billy Crystal giving a speech. He's always a joy to listen to.

7:30: I think it's pretty cool that they are doing the hologram of Bob Hope to show what it would have been like to watch him host all those years ago today.

7:32: RDJ and Jude Law are presenting Best Visual Effects and Best Editing.. These guys are great together.

7:33 The winner for Best Visual Effects: Inception. Damn straight. Those effects were breathtaking.

7:35: Another quick joke from RDJ and the winner of Best Editing is: The Social Network. Deserving but kinda would have wished Inception was nominated. Oh well.

7:41: Jennifer Hudson comes out to introduce A.R. Rahman and Florence (of Florence+the Machine) to sing the next song.

7:43: It sounds really good actually. I like that song. Next up is Gwenyth Paltrow singing "Coming Home" from Country Strong.

7:45: Gwenyth sounded lovely and got great applause. They re-cap the nominees and...Randy Newman wins! Good for him. Loved his "winning percentage doesn't matter" line.

7:53: Now it's time for the In Memoriam with Celine Dion singing Smile. I got tissues.

7:55: I'll admit it. I cried. I miss Leslie Neilson, Pete Postlewaite and Dennis Hopper. Halle Berry then introduces a tribute to Lena Horne. It's a very touching tribute.

8:01: Hillary Swank and Kathryn Bigelow are out to give the award for Best Director

8:03: The winner of Best Director is: Tom Hooper. Well to some that's a shocker (myself included) but to many it's not. Good for him though since he definitely is talented.

8:06: Annette Bening talks about the Governors Ball. Some great winners there. Eli Wallach, Kevin Brownlow and Francis Ford Coppola. They got standing ovations.

8:11: James and Anne briefly talk about the Hollywood Walk of Fame and then introduce Jeff Bridges to give out Best Actress.  His intro of each actress was great and felt very heartfelt.

8:17: The winner of Best Actress: Natalie Portman. I figured as much and honestly I'm really happy for her. Her speech is great too.

8:20: Next up Sandra Bullock is giving out the award for Best Actor. She does what Jeff does and gives each a proper intro. I especially liked her comment about General Hospital to James Franco.

8:26: The winner of Best Actor: Colin Firth. Deserved if you've ever seen the movie. He gives the role of a lifetime. I thoroughly enjoyed him in the movie as well as his speech. Congrats dude.

8:32: Steven Spielberg is out to announce Best Picture. What could it be?

8:36: Loved the tribute to the ten films video they did with the George's speech behind it. Flowed really well. The winner of Best Picture is: The King's Speech. Kind of surprised but not really considering the momentum the film has had in recent weeks. Not only that but the tribute video was very heavy handed on King's Speech. Good for it though.

8:40: And with that the Oscars are over. But not before a choir of small children from Staten Island sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Why? Because we needed a cheesy, happy ending to this award show. That and maybe they are making up for not nominating Waiting for Superman. Oh well. Thank you good night!

And with that my live blog of the Academy Awards is over. It was a chore but it was worth it. Hopefully all of you enjoyed it and I can't wait to do this next year.

From my screen to yours, I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

31st Golden Raspberry Awards...Who Won and Some Thoughts

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

Well the Oscars are upon us and no doubt sometime before the festivities (and my live blog of the event which you should follow during the show) I will inevitably post who I think will win the golden statues, but one thing that seems to get overlooked every year is the Razzies. The Razzies may not have the glitz and glam, production values or Red Carpet like the Oscars but they are just as pivotal to Oscar Week as the Oscars themselves. 

The Razzies honor the WORST in film every year since 1981. Founded by John Wilson during his annual Oscar potluck and after watching a double feature of Can't Stop the Music and Xanadu, Wilson decided to turn his potluck into an impromptu award show and give out awards to the worst the film industry had to offer. Soon it began to pick up popularity and now it is a formal award show held the day before the Oscars. I always look forward to seeing what wins the worst of the worst, so I figured I'd share my thoughts on this year's award ceremony.

Let's start with the big one right off the bat: Worst Picture.

Worst Picture: "The Last Airbender"
Not really a surprise when you think about it, and definitely not a surprise considering that the film that wins Worst Screenplay(with the exception of 4 occasions), always wins Worst Picture. The Last Airbender is no different and is deserving of it's award for Worst Picture. It was a poor adaptation of a classic animated series, it was dull, the 3D was painful, the acting sucked and it was the first film in a long time where I literally felt like I had just wasted two hours of my life. That said it DID have some tough competition (Vampires Suck, Bounty Hunter, SATC2) but overall a good choice by Wilson and Co.

Worst Director: M. Night Shyamalan, "The Last Airbender"
Like with Worst Picture, the award for Worst Director usually goes to the film that wins Worst Screenplay. However, there have been multiple occasions where the film that wins Worst Picture/Screenplay doesn't win Worst Director. But have no fear this year continues that time honored tradition with the Worst Director award going to M. Night Shyamalan. 

I honestly feel bad for the guy. He started off with great promise and he certainly knows what he's doing behind a camera (or at least I think so) but since Sixth Sense he just hasn't been able to create a memorable film that truly showcased his abilities. Instead we get half-assed messes like The Village, The Happening and Last Airbender. Someday I would like for him to get out of this unending rut he seems to be in, but unfortunately I don't think that will be happening anytime soon.

Worst Actor: Ashton Kutcher, "Killers" and "Valentine's Day"
Not really sure I agree with this award to be quite honest. I mean I'm not really a fan of the guy but compared to the other nominees I really think one of them should have won. When you have people like Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson and Jack Black all in the same category (I genuinely like Gerard Butler), it seems odd that Ashton would win. Valentine's Day and Killers were both duds but I blame the rest of the cast for the failure of both movies and less for Ashton's input. I mean he's an actor who is just THERE. He lets everyone else do the hard work. Oh well. It's not like Jack Black will never be nominated again.

Worst Actress: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon, "Sex and the City 2"

If I'm going to be honest I thought Miley Cyrus or Megan Fox would have won but really...the "Four Gal Pals" have more suck per square inch than Miley and Megan combined. I actually enjoyed the show when I got the chance to watch it and the first movie wasn't terrible, but the second was a horrible, miserable excuse for a film and should be burned and buried with the copies of E.T. The Video Game. And we have these four to blame for that. And the screenwriter, but Michael Patrick King probably already knew that. The Gal Pals are blissfully unaware of how horrible they truly were.

Worst Supporting Actor: Jackson Rathbone, "The Last Airbender" and "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"

He must have really pissed off some members of the voting committee to beat out Rob Schneider, George Lopez and Billy Ray Cyrus. Just writing those three names cause me to hurt so imagine the pain the voting committee must feel writing Jackson's name. Granted he's not much of an actor and he's a bit boring to watch but I'm stunned he beat such esteemed F-Listers.

Worst Supporting Actress: Jessica Alba, "The Killer Inside Me," "Little Fockers," "Machete" and "Valentine's Day"

Looking at the nominees my first thought was "Are these the Grammy's or the Razzies?" Cher, Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand are all among the nominees along with Jessica Alba and Nicola Peltz. Does Alba deserve this award? Oh yeah. Despite loving The Killer Inside Me and enjoying Machete, Little Fockers, and Valentines Day were terrible. And even in Machete she was a bit of a weak link. Like the Gal Pals, she has volume going for her. She's done more movies (and consequently more crap) then any of the other nominees. So she was really a shoe in from the get go.

Worst Screen Couple of Ensemble: "Sex and the City 2"
...See Worst Actress. But for a second opinion let's go to Justin Beiber. Justin?
He doesn't like SATC2 and the Gal Pals either. I figured there was SOME sense in him.

Worst Screenplay: M. Night Shyamalan, "The Last Airbender"
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Come on man! You are a talented writer! I know you can do better than the Last Airbender. Considering you are a "fan" of the show I thought you would have made the movie much better. And I can sort of forgive you since it's hard trying to fit an entire season into one movie. But that doesn't make up for boring scenes of nothingness, asinine dialogue and no direction in your story, Please get better. Quickly...otherwise you'll end up being the laughingstock of film. People already groan at your name, don't add laughter.

Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel: "Sex and the City 2"

With another opinion of the movie let's go to the Ginger's Have Souls Kid....Kid?
Thought so. Yeah If not for Last Airbender, I'm pretty sure SATC2 would have won everything, except Worst Actor...well maybe that too.

Worst Eye-Gouging Misuse of 3D: "The Last Airbender"

Not as cool as it looks at first glance and certainly not any better in 3D. Dark, poorly done and a sad excuse to get more money out of this already deep money pit. Sigh...

Well that about does it for this years Razzies. I will see you all at the Oscars.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What could possibly go wrong diving in caves?

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

James Cameron and I have an interesting relationship. Cameron the director, has made some of my favorite movies (Terminator 1 and 2, True Lies, Aliens) and created one of my favorite short lived shows ever made (Dark Angel). Cameron the person however pisses me off to no end and I will be quite happy the day he retires. That said I want to still see his movies so it's kind of an odd situation. His latest movie, which he neither wrote nor directed but executive produced the hell out of (and oddly does all the promotion for), is Sanctum, a cave diving adventure shot using the 3D tech that they used for Avatar. It's written by two first timers and based on the "true life story" of co-writer Andrew Wight, who dealt with the same obstacles as this movie did. It's directed by newcomer Alister Grierson and stars only one actor I've heard of (Richard Roxburgh of Moulin Rouge).

So needless to say it has a lot of new blood working on it. But does Cameron's executive producing and help make this a Cameron worthy film? Simply
 The story follows Josh, the seventeen year old son of famed explorer Frank McGuire. Josh, along with a rich couple looking to live it up a little, travel to the Esa'ala Cave in Papua New Guinea, where Josh's father happens to be, along with a small group of other explorers. They dive down into the caves and things seem to be going fine until Frank and Judes (a female diver) go exploring deeper into the caves and Judes accidentally drowns when her breathing tube snaps. Josh blames Frank, saying he murdered her, but Frank blames Josh, saying he forgot to get back-up tanks. Soon after Judes death a storm hits and water starts rushing into the cave, forcing the group to dive in and find a way out.

One of the biggest faults with this film is it's story. I have no doubt that Wight and John Garvin (the other co-writer) are talented people but this film really does not showcase it. Besides Josh and Frank it lacks any character development besides the usual stereotypes we see in almost every action/horror movie. Even Josh and Frank are barely developed compared to what we are expectant of in a feature film. We need to care about these characters and really we don't. When and if the characters die we could care less because we barely knew their names. Also the dialogue can be really cheesy and heavy handed at times, causing some groan worthy moments and almost enough eye rolling to sprain an eye. It's near painful to listen to.
 And for a film that boasts great 3-D, I'd like to know how it warranted that. The 3-D adds maybe a little depth and feels off centered for the most part. While films like Resident Evil Afterlife and Dreamworks/Pixar films give you depth up front and sometimes throw stuff to the side to cause our eyes to keep moving making us more engaged in the film, this film has a weird hackneyed approach making the depth off to the side and barely throwing anything to the side, almost forcing us to stare at the corner of the screen. I don't claim to be a film expert but aren't we supposed to look straight into the screen? On top of it being off centered it is DARK. The reason I didn't see Clash of the Titans or My Soul to Take in 3D was because of how dark everyone said they were. And after watching Alice in Wonderland in 3D I knew what they meant. Sanctum takes that to a new level. It looks grimy at times and for every beautiful landscape shot towards the beginning, once you get into the thick of things, it's a very dark, ugly film. Add off centered and you have an almost unwatchable film.

It's saving grace though is the acting. Honestly that is the only thing that kept me going. While I had only heard of Richard Roxburgh (who plays Frank), I hadn't heard of any of the other actors. That said, they all did a really good job. Granted the script caused them to work in a tight, confined acting space both physically and metaphorically using mostly stereotypes as their entire character development for the film, but each actor, Rhys Wakefield especially, did a great job making me believe they were really the characters they were portraying. Sometimes in a movie that outright fails at everything else, the actors can come off as "So and so playing the character" and not lose themselves in the character like they are supposed to. Even the smallest accomplished that goal and for that I tip my hat to them.
Sanctum is a film that could have been a lot better, had it not been shot in 3D and hired different writers to do the script...that or at least a new writer to give the characters some depth. While the landscape can be beautiful at times, the murky, dark and off centered 3D makes it impossible to really enjoy it. Had it not had the quality acting from the entire cast, I very well could have walked out of this movie. It's not fun to watch, the dialogue is cheesy, the plot is rushed and it's full of head scratching moments. Honestly it's hard for me to recommend this movie to anyone, but if you must see it, see it in 2D and don't expect much.


Friday, February 25, 2011

That you randomly sometimes stick it in a girl does not mean anything beyond you need to monitor your drinking

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

When I saw that I had received the miracle of my On Demand featuring a giant amount of Sundance films, the first film that caught my eye was one that Simon/Ripley had recommended to me in my Most Anticipated post. A film called "Kaboom!" It's directed by Gregg Araki, a man known for the "Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy" as well as the stoner comedy Smiley Face and written by him as well. It stars Thomas Dekker, best known for Terminator Sarah Conner Chronicles as well as James Duval (a staple of Araki's films), Juno Temple (of numerous British films) and Haley Bennett (of Music and Lyrics). It won the Queer Palm Award at Sundance for it's dealing with LGBT issues and is definitely a film I don't think many people will forget after watching.

What do I mean by that? Well just read the plot description.
 Smith (Dekker) is an 18 (going on 19 soon) year old college student with a bit of a problem. He's been having these weird dreams in which he's naked and all of these people he knows and don't know are just standing and staring at him while he walks towards a door marked with 19. He's also sexually undeclared (basically it means he's bisexual but they never outright say it) which is hard for him because his roommate is 6'3, ripped, sleeps nude, dumb as a sack of sacks and has a massive unit. So to keep his sexual frustration down he hangs out with his lesbian BFF Stella (Bennett) who suggests they go to a party so that Smith will settle down. Smith goes to the party only to find out that the other two woman in his dream are there, one being Stella's new girlfriend Lorelei, a full blown witch, and the other a red-headed girl who quickly runs from him. Smith eats a hallucinogenic cookie to get his mind off this weird coincidence, meets London (Temple), sleeps repeatedly with her until she is worn out, stumbles out and discovers the red headed girl getting stabbed in the head by people wearing animal masks.

That is the first 20 minutes. If you can make it through all that in such a short period of time, what transpires is a conspiracy story that revolves around Smith's 19th birthday and finding out what is so important about that red headed girl. Also there is a lot of sex...lots and lots of sex.
 The movie is trippy as all hell but I'd be a liar if I said it wasn't memorable. The humor, be it Smith's snarky attitude, Stella's dry wit or the stupid one liners from Thor (the roommate), is great and had me laughing out loud quite a bit. On top of that the conspiracy theory story is really well thought out and you genuinely want to see what happens next and how the whole thing turns out. Granted some of the side stories (London/Smith's relationship, Smith/random dude at beach's relationship, Smith/dude he just met's relationship) aren't that fully developed but they all play a pivotal part in the movie's endgame whether you expect them to or not. My only flaw with the story would be that they literally have to explain the entire story at the end of the movie a la something you would see out of Scooby Doo. Granted it was nice for me to know exactly what the hell was going on and why everything that I saw mattered, but it does have that rushed feel to it. Like Araki had to keep it under 90 minutes so they shoved all the explaining in the last 5 minutes.

The acting is also pretty good with no real stinkers in the bunch. Dekker is great, mixing humor with seriousness rather well and plays his role pretty believably. Temple is good as well but my only gripe with her is that she sometimes comes off as one dimensional. Bennett is hilarious and it doesn't matter what the situation is, she always seems to have a witty one liner to go along with it. The only actor who I think could have been used more was the character of Messiah (Duvall). Every time he came on he was great but he seems very underused until the last 10 minutes. Same goes for most of the minor characters. But this is Smith's story so it's to be expected that we only follow his inner circle.
Kaboom is a movie that will most likely divide audiences. Some will find it to be a hilarious film with a great dramatic story to go behind it, some will find it gratuitous and overly sexual and some will probably be left scratching their heads. But I enjoyed it thoroughly and found it to be quite enjoyable. Yes it does end abruptly and it's one helluva mind freak the whole way through, but it's memorable and it's a great conversation starter (God knows how many Kaboom related discussions I've had) so I say check it out, you won't be sorry.


"You better start sounding like her before you scare someone." "How's this...SWING LOW, SWEET CHARI*nut shot*"

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

There is something incredibly wrong in this world. No it's not the war, famine, and hate in the world today (although those are issues that do need to be addressed in the future). No it is the fact that there is another Big Momma's House in the world and instead of going straight to DVD, it went into theaters where people who work hard for their money go to have some fun. And I guarantee when they walk out of Big Momma's House 3,  they will feel cheated out of their money and will have at no point had what people would classify as "fun." And it's sad really. Brandon T Jackson and Martin Lawrence are both funny men with a lot of talent, Lawrence especially. I mean we are talking about MDPD detective Marcus Burnett here! But sadly instead of seeing him in a good quality film we are forced to watch him make poop jokes and pratfalls, all while wearing a fat suit. Eddie Murphy called, he's trying to warn you not to follow his career path.

But I guess people will inevitably watch this so I might as well go about this like a normal review. *Sigh*

Malcolm Turner is an FBI agent and master of disguise. His character of "Big Momma" has helped him solve many a crime and has kind of become his go to standard whilst working undercover. His son Trent wants to become a rapper known as "Prodi-G" instead of attending Duke and getting an education. Malcolm wants him to get an education but Trent is persistent. So persistent that while Sherry, Malcolm's wife and Trent's mom, is on vacation Trent follows Malcolm while he's working and tries to get him to sign a contract allowing him to pursue a career in rap music. This leads to Trent witnessing a hit go down and to prevent Trent from getting killed himself, Malcolm decides that Trent and him should go undercover as Big Momma and Big Momma's great niece "Charmaine" and hide out at a performing arts school for girls where Charmaine will attend and Big Momma will work as a den mother. 

This leads to two love stories in the film, one between Trent/Charmaine and a classmate of his named Haley, and one between Big Momma and Kurtis Kool, the janitor. With Trent/Charmaine it's hard because Trent/Charmaine really likes Haley but doesn't want to give up his identity and with Big Momma and Kurtis, Big Momma don't want none of what he's giving. All the while the people responsible for the hit are after Malcolm and their ventures lead them to the performing arts school as well.

The story is competent, but really lacks any pizazz or anything other than the cookie cutter stereotypes that you've probably gathered just from reading this plot synopsis. If you think it will happen, chances are it does. But the competent storytelling is destroyed by the utter lack of humor or jokes that don't involve poop, anything to do with the groin area or pratfalls because trust me they do them a plenty. And fat jokes but considering this whole movie is based around a man dressed as an overly large black woman, they almost seem to come with the territory. I maybe got one chuckle out of the whole movie and that was neither from Lawrence nor Jackson. No it was from Faizon Love who plays Kurtis Kool. And that joke was in the previews so watch them and you should have all the humor in one convenient place. The acting is competent as well but really when your film sucks as much as this one, you hardly notice acting skills.

I'm gonna get straight to the point here and not bore you any longer. This film is a bomb. It shouldn't have been made and whoever green lit it needs to be beaten. Everyone in this film can do much better and the writers needed to spend more time on character development and real humor instead of potty humor that most people over the age of 13 find immature. There could have been a decent film in here somewhere but it is buried so deep that it is nearly impossible to find. Skip this trash and wait for Bad Boys 3.


I didn't forget everything. I remember how to kill you, asshole.

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

Liam Neeson has always been one of my favorite actors. Whether or not the movie is good, he always seems to give 110% and somehow even makes the stupidest or cheesiest lines sound Oscar worthy. And while he still does the occasional drama, when he's not doing the voice of an allegorical Jesus lion he seems to be doing action movie after action movie. Whether it's the A-Team, Next Three Days, Taken or his latest release Unknown, Neeson has reinvented himself as a bit of an action hero, something great for those Darkman fans out there like myself. And while Unknown is not his best action movie, it certainly is entertaining from start to finish.
 Liam Neeson plays Dr. Martin Harris, a renowned botanist who travels to Berlin for a big biotech summit. He takes his wife Liz (January Jones) along, hoping that when he isn't at conferences or exclusive one on one meetings with some of the other scientists, he can travel with Liz and see some of the sights, including the showcase of one of their favorite artists. They arrive at the hotel on time and everything seems fine, but Martin forgets his briefcase with his identification in it at the airport so he hops in a taxi to go retrieve it. The taxi, driven by an immigrant named Gina (Diane Kruger), gets into an accident and crashes into the river, momentarily stopping Martin's heart and leaving him in a coma for four days.

He wakes up four days later and immediately goes back to the hotel to see if Liz is alright. Security has no idea who he is, and worse yet Liz has no idea who he is and is apparently married to the "real" Dr. Martin Harris. This freaks Martin out and he tries to call a colleague of his, Dr. Cole (Frank Langella) who could help verify his identity, but sadly he does not answer. When things seem to get even more twisted, family photos/website info/identification papers all featuring this other Martin Harris, Martin tries to figure out what's going on and get to the bottom of this whole situation. It probably doesn't help that there are assassins trying to kill him either.
 The story is well written but definitely has some flaws. For one it goes on a bit too long. Taken, a film that will no doubt be compared to this, was only 90 minutes long, while Unknown runs for 113 minutes. Now I'm not a squirmer so long movies don't REALLY bother me, but when you can easily point out scenes you would've cut for time, you do start to get annoyed. On top of that the movie seems to really love twists, but most of those twists happen during the last half an hour of the film and can leave the audience member slightly confused as to what is REALLY going on in the film. There also seems to be an abundance of plot conveniences (situations or conversations that exist only to move the plot) but usually that's typical of an action movie so they don't have to explain everything. All negatives aside, the dialogue is quite well done and Liam does seem to get a lot of awesome one liners.

The acting is a mixed bag, but Liam is so good and is the focus of the whole thing so you tend not to notice some of the more mediocre performances. Diane Kruger is good but can be sometimes really hard to understand. Granted that's probably how it should be, but you do have to lean in a few times to understand her. January Jones does nothing for me, as an actress and in this movie, mostly staring blankly off into the distance. The only time you really see emotion is in the numerous repetitive flashbacks that Martin sees and those are brief cuts. Aidan Quinn, who plays Martin 2, also does nothing the whole movie (or at least until the last 10 minutes) and delivers his lines very monotone. On a positive note, Bruno Ganz, best known for being the Hitler in all the YouTube spoof videos, is fantastic but is a little underused. Same goes for Langella when he does show up later in the movie.
Taken 2 Unknown is not. While it is entertaining from start to finish and there are a few great performances, especially from Liam, the plot gets bogged down with overly long scenes, twists that come a mile a minute and performances from actors who seem to not care that they are there (I'm looking at you Jones). It's worth watching for sure, and you won't leave the theater disappointed, but don't expect it to be the masterpiece that Taken was.