Tag Archives: Pirates of the Caribbean

Shaun of the Dead

Okay, so here we go with the Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright film that started off the whole shebang. Shaun of the Dead, that classic film that everyone and their mother owns (well my mom likes it in any case) truly is a spectacular romantic spoof about zombies. Let’s see if I can remember back to the first time I watched it…

Back when I first laid eyes on this film, I’m pretty sure I had no idea who Simon Pegg was. I hadn’t seen Spaced (not until much later) and I was woefully unaware of what hilarious

A wonderful cast doing it on the night.

antics lay before me in this film. Leave it to the British to be so damn clever that they turn a zombie movie into one of the funniest films of the last 10 years (soon to be followed by Hot Fuzz). The first in what hopes to be a trilogy entitled “The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy” (every film so far has featured a Cornetto), I laughed hysterically (or at least I think I did back in 2004) to Shaun of the Dead.

A lot of the zombies in the film are shown in other scenes, and are fans of Spaced or just happened to be around the time of shooting.

Fantastic plot ensuing. Shaun (Simon Pegg) has an average life with a girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield) who expects a bit more from their relationship. Ed (Nick Frost) lives in a shared flat with Shaun and their dickish roommate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz), and every night ends at the Winchester pub. After Shaun was supposed to finally arrange a nice night out, he messes up after a scrambled day at work, and Liz breaks it off with him. Planning on doing anything to get her back, Shaun and Ed wake up the next day to a zombie apocalypse. Guess things’ll be a bit more complicated than planned.

Let’s start with the filming. This movie, which, in my adolescence I thought was directed by Simon Pegg, was creatively done by Edgar Wright. With the combined writing and direction powers of

See, it’s gotta be good, she’s smiling.

Wright/Pegg, there’s nothing they couldn’t do. This movie uses interesting and dramatic quick cuts, ominously toned music at ironic parts, and comedic timing within the camera angles and cuts. It does mean a lot for a camera’s direction and cinematography to dictate the pacing and comedy of a film. This one has that. You’ll see the same thing in Hot Fuzz (a more action-y edge) and Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs The World (a review I did a while ago).

That’s some classic Nighy right there.

The cast is also full of a bunch of wonderful British actors. Of course there’s the Simon Pegg/ Nick Frost bromance/friendship duo. It’s the only couple in Hollywood that I would consciously ship together despite just being two men who are friends. You have Dylan Moran, star of Black Books and the recently reviewed A Film With Me in It. This Irish actor plays the dick and four eyes, David. But he’s a lot more than that and shows up in other Simon Pegg vehicles. I give this guy his props, he’s damn funny. There’s Lucy Davis who plays the slightly slow failed actress, Dianne. Most British comedy fans will know of her from the UK’s Office as Dawn, one of my favorites (I currently worship Ricky Gervais).  There’s Bill Nighy, POTC’s Davy Jones and Underworld’s head vamp and one of my mom’s favorite British actors. A cameo is made by Rafe Spall, son of Timothy Spall as Noel, one of Shaun’s co-workers at the tech shop. He’s slimmed down a bit for other roles and most recently

The Wright stuff.

appeared in Prometheus (you gotta check him out, he’s going places).

This movie’s just a great watch and gets better every time you watch it with inside jokes and new groups of friends tuning in. (At least in my experience.) There’s nothing wrong with it, and it delivers on the horror fan and comedy fan that both dwell within me. If you’re any sort of a geek and love sci-fi/video games/movies/fantasy, this movie is for you. It’s a cricket bat to the head and worth all the injuries. 9.3 out of 10.

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Snow White and the Hunstman

I’m pretty sure I saw this movie in its last leg of showings in theaters. I had wanted to see it for a while (bar people hating on it for having Kristen Stewart) and was happy to finally see it. My overall impression was good of the film, but for different reasons other than the typical for liking a movie. But I’ll get to that in a second. On an average Friday, in an average theater, among other couples who seemed they wanted to do nothing

Ah yes, a Twilight reference.

more than make out for $10.50 at a poor film, I watched Snow White and the Huntsman.

The story is a bit different than your average Disney movie. Based more on the darker version of events from the Grimm Bros., this movie attempts to scare more than romanticize. I think that’s why people had a problem with the plot because they were expecting this all too romantic kissing scene, and they didn’t get it because that’s not what this movie was about. A strong female character is created to battle an even stronger female character, not really making it about the Huntsman at all (a character

Lookin’ pretty fierce there, Thor.

I developed a liking for from Rutger Hauer’s surprisingly good performance of it in The Tenth Kingdom). And for those of you out there who labeled this a Twilight-like movie from the start, you were wrong. Just because Kristen Stewart is in a film does not mean it has anything to do with Twilight. Shame on you.

So, plot. (As if there were those of you out there who didn’t have a semblance of Snow White.) So one day Snow White’s mom has a little inkling to go out in the garden when it’s snowing. Pricks her finger, 3 drops of blood, bam! You have a baby and a dead mother during

Maybe if I scream they’ll appreciate my performance…

childbirth. King Magnus (Noah Huntley, I thought I recognized him from 28 Days Later…) raises her and loves Snow White to no end. Then, after a cinematically striking 2 minute fight, Magnus finds his new Queen, Ravenna (Charlize Theron). Snow White (Stewart) grows up to be sooooo beautiful that the Evil Queen can’t stand it. Wanting to eat her heart for immortality (remember this is a fairy tale, you adults out there), Snow White escapes and the Queen sends the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) after her. Let the pursuit begin.

Oh, the wonderful textures…

The casting in this movie was really hit or miss. Kristen Stewart did what little job she could to hold the lead role together, putting on a weak English accent. I can’t blame her when other lesser known actresses were up for the part and they weren’t given it. Sadly, that’s what happens when you’re popular, you steal all the roles. Charlize Theron thought screaming for no reason at certain points would get her acting across more powerfully. That childlike antic won’t get you far, I’m afraid. She was constantly trying to create this Shakespearean demon witch that just came across as weak and sad. Chris Hemsworth was as macho and boring as usual (sorry Thor, but if you are in every movie with a cleaving/hammering device of some sort, you’re typecast. Just like Orlando Bloom as Legolas. Has anyone seen the archery scene in the Musketeers remake?) as the Hunstman. Sorry, that was a long side note. Okay, let’s go through the list of people they chose before they decided on Hemsworth.

A Viggo Mortensen stand in? Perfect!

Tom Hardy. I can see him in the role after the trailers from the new Batman movie. Not a huge fan (he has the Christopher Nolan brand all over his ass. Of course he’s gonna get work…) but he would’ve done the job. Johnny Depp. Never appropriate for an action role. He did well in the POTC movies, but what the Hell kind of offer is that? As Daniel Tosh said, “Cool should have a cutoff, and my vote is 48.” Sorry John Depp, you’re out. Then there was Viggo Mortensen. Now there’s a fantasy actor. The quintessential Aragorn. He has been looking for a reason to come back to fantasy/action films, I’m sure. But he turned it down as well. Maybe the age difference when it comes to Stewart? Who knows… Hugh Jackman. The last one asked before Thor. Wolverine? Sure, he’s pretty ballin. But he declined as well. So, after all these turn downs, the studio turned to a man who’s good with hammer like objects. Great goin’ there, Chris Hemsworth.

But there is a silver lining to this movie. The dwarven cast. The second I saw who they cast as the Seven Dwarves, I was in Heaven. You couldn’t pick a more perfect English cast to play all 7! You got Bob Hoskins leading the group. Elderly and

Mayhem while you work.

blind, he’s good no matter if he’s Smee or Roger Rabbit’s partner. Ian McShane, the Deadwood master. I was surprised he was pretty damn good. Johnny Harris from Black Death. Word. Toby Jones, the infamous voice of Dobby the House Elf. I’d rather remember him from other roles, but he was great as well. Eddie Marsan, another great English actor. I like his smaller roles in V for Vendetta and The Illusionist. People will know him from Sherlock Holmes. Ray Winstone, the gruff talking Mr. French from The Departed. Now he’s a good actor. And Nick Frost of the Pegg/Frost duo. Need I say more? And I’d also like to give a little nod to Brian (pronounced Breen) Gleeson. He’s an up and coming English actor who actually made me shed a tear in this one. Wow, that paragraph was a mouthful of excited English actors.

I like touching silky things.

And now I come to my main point of why I liked this movie. It was pretty to look at. Every scene had some special effect or interesting texture that I wish I could’ve reached out and touched in the film. As it is Rupert Sanders first film, it is understandable that it looks this way. He started off as a English commercial director. He has to sell a product based on look. That’s why this movie is so visually appealing. The fur, the white paint you see in the film, the forest scenes, everything looks so good you could eat it in Willy Wonka’s candy room. And that’s something you don’t always see in every movie. So a bit of a bravo for that.

So you may not be able to see this movie in theaters now, but check it out when it gets its DVD/Blu-Ray release in September of 2012. It was an enjoyable watch for the sights and sounds, but always remember that can only take you so far in a film. 6.4 out of 10.

Get some of that troll…


The Adventures of Tintin: The Best

Awwww yeahhhh...

Just to let everyone know, I’m about to rave about how good this movie is. I’m already gonna give this a 10 out of 10, no worries. I’m gonna give this best animated film of 2011. As if there was any competition. I’ve been reading Tintin graphic novels since I was a wee lad. This stuff, pardon my French, is my shizz. I love Tintin and his trusty wire fox terrier, Snowy. Captain Haddock is hilarious with his alliterative swear words. The mysteries are fun and engaging for all ages. And this movie EPITOMIZES everything that was good about the comics. I can’t think of a single book/comic/graphic novel that completely translates a movie from the work that you loved. (If you can refute this statement, post one. You can’t, but you can try.)

From the amazing minds of Steven Spielburg and Peter Jackson, the story of the ace journalist/detective Tintin comes

Tintin and Haddock, on the adventure.

straight from the first comic. The meeting of Haddock. Flawless. I felt I was re-reading the first graphic novel. Page for page. In 107 minutes, I was taken into a world I could completely believe in. A world I wished I existed in since I was 9. Now this has been a ridiculously good year for Spielburg. He directed The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse. One is a heartwarming story about a horse getting Oscar buzz, the other is an amazing story about the greatest hero of all time, and it was judge by its earnings in America. Come on, are you serious? Let’s see… Oh my, it made a measly $10 million domestically. It floundered here in the U.S. Hmmmm… $270 in foreign box offices? It just looks to me as if people abroad (where Tintin originated) appreciate it far more than those here who lack a bit of ecclesiastical appreciation. I’m not blaming anyone, it just goes to show we need to publish and distribute more Tintin comics here.

How great does that look? Bell and Serkis, experiencing innovation.

Back to Spielburg. (Sorry Peter.) Along with these great directing jobs, Spielburg executively produced 4 T.V. shows (one of those being Terra Nova, getting some buzz there, the other big one, Falling Skies) and a series of big blockbuster movies. Those being Cowboys and Aliens (need to see), Transformers 3 (eh… no), Real Steel (big no), and Super 8 (HELL YES). Toss in War Horse and Tintin and you got a sextuple threat right there. I’d call that a year of bank. But I guess that’s not to try to detract from Peter Jackson’s contribution. Jackson has The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey two parter to look forward to releasing. That’s gonna do just as well as the LOTR series for shizzle.

What other names can I boast about related to this movie? Well, there’s John Williams on the orchestra chops. Check out about every single Spielburg/Lucas movie and you’ll find J. Williams name tagged on there. Anybody who can cinematically sweep me off my feet with a recognizable build, that’s gold right there. AND THE VOICE ACTORS. That’s just think about that for a second. Voice actors. I know they’re acclaimed actors, but they use their voices to bring this movie together. And a bunch of great names to talk about in relation to their characters.

There are no words for how incredible this is.

Jamie Bell as Tintin. Right there. That’s a big name with some great roles attached to it. The boy of Billy Elliot among other great English roles this guy has taken? Fantastic. I used to do my own English accent in my mind to pretend I was Tintin, but now Jamie Bell’s voice will forever signify and epitomize who Tintin is. Andy Serkis and Captain Haddock. PHENOMENAL. I’ve never known an actor who can throw out a cacophony of voices and make them all sound legitimate. His drunken Scottich drawl is just exactly what Haddock ordered. His buffoonery and hijinks really carry the story along, as Tintin and his levelheadedness truly get them out of some sticky situations. Here, get this. Daniel Craig AS THE BAD GUY. Who saw that coming? Playing the nefarious Sakharine/Red Rackham, Craig really steps it up by expanding his acting chops inside a recording booth. Nick Frost and Simon Pegg as the Thompson twins? I’ll take some of that. They were funny in the comics and in the movie as well. Spot on. Toby Jones as Silk the pickpocket? I thought at first that he would be Professor Calculus when I first saw him, but that wasn’t the case. (Professor Calculus was supposed to be in Red Rackham’s Treasure, but only introduced.) Even Mackenzie Crook, side star of the Pirates series as the wooden eyed lackey and star of The Office (U.K.), offered his voice as Tom, one of the lackeys of Haddock’s former crew. And, get this as well, even Cary Elwes, star of Saw 1 and The Princess Bride, lends his voice as a minor character! (Look for him as a pilot on the biplane!) Everyone English wanted to get in on the action of Tintin!

Let’s talk about the animation! This new age of 3-D digital animation is just phenomenal. Anything can be done with today’s technology. I would give this movie and the recently made L.A. Noire game the tops for this category of innovation. When you can make iconic cartoon characters seem real and RESEMBLE the voice actors who play them? Kudos. I will give a standing ovation to that. The amazing attention to details with shadows and minor costume effects and the tiniest of details is just mental. You have to really care about the work you’re doing to be that good. And I’m sure all the people that worked on this movie were.

There are so many great comedic/fast paced action sequences in this movie as well! The scenes on the Karaboudjan ship and the flashbacks to the Haddock/Rackham fight were epic (and I don’t use epic lightly). And the final chase scene at the end are the epitome of badass. Even the final battle between Haddock and his ancient rival are just too amazing. Bravo on all accounts of action.

Just. Fantastic.

I gotta tell ya, there is just no end to my love of this movie and Tintin and all his adventures. I hope they make a movie for every single graphic novel. The start up of every story is great. Tintin stumbles on some piece of history and it ties him into a dangerous adventure that will test his mind and body. He should be every young man’s hero and role model. And speaking of young children, I was happy to see how many parents took their children to see this movie. It’s age appropriate and wonderful for the entire family, young and old alike. It has everything and leaves you wanting more. The entire time. I can’t get over it. A

Tintin 4 Life.

perfect, flawless 10 out of 10. Best film of 2011? Maybe… Tintin will tell.


The King’s Speech

What more is there to say about this academy award winning film that hasn’t already been said? It’s touching, it’s moving, it’s inspiring, and it’s also funny. I found it quite funny at the same time that it was moving. I didn’t get a chance to see this film in theaters, but after watching it on DVD, I wish I had. I did enjoy this movie, and, as much as I hate being part of the crowd in my opinions, I have to give this movie credit. Tom Hooper did a great job directing and every line was well crafted and delivered and gave The King’s Speech its comedy and intellectual gravity. (Thanks to David Seidler for that.) So let me just point a few things out and get this film out of the way.

First of all, scenes and costume. The 1920’s/30’s era is one of my favorites. I know a lot about it. And this movie holds true to

You got something to say?

how that era looked quite well. I’m not as familiar with the English aristocracy, but this film really seems to draw on the way in which British royalty functioned and looked. It was a nice touch, seeing as I have a great appreciation for the British, as well as my mom. (Whose appreciation is bigger.) I especially liked the scene in which King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) comes in to England via plane. That plane was niiiiiiice.

The actors. Top-notch. We got Colin Firth as Bertie (King George VI). I don’t have to say it, but I think he was great. And it shows in the fact that he won Best Leading Actor. Now Geoffrey Rush, he’s one of my favorite actors of all time. I fell in love with him as Captain Barbosa in Pirates and Peter Sellers in

You will always inspire me, Geoffrey Rush.

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. And as Lionel Logue, he is funny, inspiring, moving, and everything else this movie provides, embodied in a character. Helena Bonham Carter is quite good as Queen Elizabeth and brings her homely, sensitive, caring nature to the role. Guy Pearce, another of my favorite actors, was great in his small role as Bertie’s brother, King Edward VIII. Although he’s seen as quite the jerk in this film, I loved his character and sympathized with his pursuit of love over duty. Michael Gambon (the current Dumbledore) also makes a nice appearance as King George V, and Timothy Spall makes a nice little appearance as Winston Churchill, a perfect fit out of many who have portrayed Churchill in the past.

And that’s really about all I have to say. Yes, it was an amazing movie. It deserved the awards it got. And I will, this once, tend to agree with critics. 8.9 out of 10.

For the win, Colin Firth. The win.