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Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs: Release Your Inner Junk-Food Lover

December 23, 2009

My love for food began the moment I learnt to pick up a spoon and move it towards my face and into my mouth. Ever since that moment, I was ready for this film.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009) is about a passionate inventor, Flint Lockwood, who makes yet another invention that his town instantly hates. But after food falls from the sky, the town people embrace Lockwood and exploit his miracle-like invention.

Each character was perfect. Some 3D animations, such as Little Chicken, don’t have characters who connect well with their voices. But Meatballs was well casted. Bill Hader for Flint Lockwood was quirky and hilarious, while Anna Faris played the voice of Flints love interest, Sam Sparks, a secret nerd- a little different than Faris’s usual stereotype. Mr T as Earl Devereaux was also brilliant and worked better than I predicted.

This was another example of how 3D animations are not just for kids. Like most imaginative tales, this story has a moral. Like Wall-E (2008), its deeper and darker story touches not only children but adults. If animation is the modern way in which the film industry/screenplay writers must teach society about greed and over-consumption, then I’m all for it.  

I was able to see this film in 3D- which made the experience much more pleasurable. My only criticism for this film is that the 3D effect was not employed efficiently. It was employed to enhance details, just like The Christmas Carol (2009), but objects rarely  jumped out at you. In Meatballs, there were so many scenes where food fall from the sky and where long shots framed the entire the town and its citizens and where the 3D effect could have been employed to produce greater depth. Coroline (2009) was the only 3D film so far, at least for me, that has used the 3D opportunity effectively.

Nevertheless, this was a great film, and I defiantly recommend it.

Till next time,

S

2012: Is it just another natural disaster movie?

December 23, 2009

The answer is YES. I was lurrrred in by the simple brilliance of this teaser:

There were no famous actors, no The Day After Tomorrow visuals-  it was just plain COOL. But then this trailer appeared…

…something inside me died. I would usually stay clear of reviews and trailers (especially for a blockbuster film) but I was not able to escape. As more trailers were released, my desire for this film slowly flat lined.

Not matter how many decades have past and how many natural disaster movies flood our screens,  we must expect corny moments between old flames, scenes that strengthen parent-child relationships, and we must NOT be disappointed when the celebrity cast DONT DIE.

To see a film such as this, you must have low narrative expectations and high expectations for special effects. If you believe in this concept, then you will enjoy this film. There were many jaw-dropping moments brought on by special effects, and this part of the experience was brilliant. It was nice to see John Cusack in this lead role, rather than an actor like Nic Cage or Tom Cruise. But I must admit, I believe he suits quirky and alternative films much more than commercial blockbusters such as these.

But the question lies, why shouldn’t we have high narrative expectations on modern Sci Fi/Action blockbusters? Is poor narrative justified by the high quality of special effects? Why cant we have both? Would that be asking too much? The bottom line is that these films are sold through their visual aesthetics.  Film producers are less concerned about the plot. This is truly a shame, but the world must go on…

Till next time,

S

Back Soon!

November 21, 2009

Hello there!

Yesterday I saw the highly anticipated block buster 2012. Unfortunately I wont be able to complete a review on this film till the end of next week. So today, I will be brief:

If you don’t mind characters unrealistically surviving inevitable deaths, then see this film.

If you enjoy watching jaw dropping scenes, then this is a film for you.

If you prefer to know more information about the predicted 2012 natural disasters- rather than the romantic relationships of various characters- then you will probably be disappointed.

Hope to write soon. Till next time,

S

A Christmas Carol: in 3D!!

November 9, 2009

A Christmas Carol (2009) the latest adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic novel. You watch this film, knowing exactly what you are getting. You know the story- at least you should by now! Christmas television airs an adaptation of this story at least 479 times-  played by z-class actors or the muppets (I prefer the muppets version). So the only reasons why you would see the film is: the brilliant voices of Jim Carrey, the amazing talent of director Robert Zemeckis, the amazing animation (with the option of  3D), introducing a classic tale to a new generation and because you want to get into the Christmas spirit as early as the shopping centres do!

I chose to see the film in 3D. Having seen Up (2009) and Coraline (2009) in 3D, I expected that this film would have employed the 3D effects on absolutely everything, but that wasn’t the case. When the spirit of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge flying into the past, the 3D effects were amazing, and I felt the same way with any scene that contained falling slow. However, there were so many other sequences that would have benefited from this effect. It was a shame that this was the case. In addition, I prefer Pixar/Dreamworks-style and stop motion animation over this video game style animation, but I didn’t let these feelings get in the way of my movie experience.

On a positive note, Jim Carrey was amazing. He played eight characters- and the animators even made each of these characters look like animated relatives of Carrey. Furthermore, it felt like A Christmas Carol was another of Robert Zemeckis’s- who has also directed Forest Gump (1994), Back to the Future II & III (1989 & 1990), and the history making Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)- Christmas fantasies come to life. Zemeckis had also directed and written the 2004’s The Polar Express. A Christmas Carol definitely illustrated how much Zemeckis has grown since 2004 and also how animation effects have developed over 5 years!

If you are intrigued by this adaptation, I truly recommend for you to take a look. Otherwise, just wait till commercial television airs the film during the christmas season for the next 283 years

Till next time,

S

 

 

Alice in Wonderland: Release the Child Within

October 28, 2009

I have been waiting for this film for a very long time and I am very excited to say that it is almost here. Tim Burton’s
Alice in Wonderland (2010) is due to hit the Australian screen on March the 4th 2010. I know, I know, its still 5 months away, but seeing as I have been waiting for 3 years, 5 months is NOTHING.

Like Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Alice in Wonderland (2010) is a remake of a classic yet frightening tale. I like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) because Tim Burton followed the narrative of the book, rather than the numerous cinematic remakes, produced over the years.
He didn’t take into consideration that children might be scared of squirrels and their ability to pick up girls and throw them into the rubbish- he just went by the book, because that was the true story.
I can only assume that Alice in Wonderland (2010) is adapted from the book.

This is another Disney/Tim Burton production. Few would know that Tim Burton studied animation at the Walt Disney academy and was one of the artists for The Fox and the Hound (1981). Let face it, if he continued to work for the cute and fluffy Disney, he probably would have snapped and killed everyone. Thankfully, he left. He has, however, worked in conjunction with Disney, in films such as Vincent (1982 – very cute short film) and The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993 – one of my favourites). A full length remake of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie (1984) will also be produced by Disney and Burton. Although the original was not animated, my guess is that it will be made in stop-motion.

I have seen almost all of Tim Burton’s films and there are two film that I have disliked with passion:
Firstly, Mars Attacks! (1996). Just associating this film with Burton makes me pull a face: the face of pain and disappointment. It was so bad. Why? There are too many reasons, but I will name two: there were many famous actors and not enough darkness. Tim Burton films have this dark deep tone, which was truly missed in Mars Attack (1996). The second: Planet of the Apes (2001). This wasn’t so bad, but again, I didn’t feel Burton in this film. It wasn’t unique. It felt like every other Twentieth Century-Fox blockbuster: entertaining but nothing special.

Back to the point, when Alice in Wonderland (2010) does appear on Australian screens, see it. If not for the story or Tim Burton, for the fabulous costumes and mise-en-scene!

Till next time,

S

Whatever Works: But will it work well?

October 19, 2009

I wouldn’t usually be attracted to a film such as this. A story about an old, unattractive, world-hating ‘genius’ and his ability to attract a slow southern 21-year-old blonde is not very realistic or flattering for the female sex. It’s a bit of a leap for anyone who isn’t rich or Woody Allen (God only knows how that happened!). Whatever Works (2009) is not the most exciting narrative to ever appear on the movie screen, but it is entertaining.

Whatever Works (2009) is a Woody Allen written and directed film. If you didn’t like any films written, directed or staring Woody Allen, then this is a miss. Why? Because the protagonist Boris Yellnikoff, played by Larry David, is just a tall version of Woody Allen. In addition, Whatever Works (2009) was a script Woody Allen had written, many decades ago, and for the stage. With a few elements from the sixties and seventies remaining, the play was adapted to the modern world. For example, Obama was mentioned in the opening sequence. No matter how modern the script might be, it is still a Woody Allen dream story. Throughout the entire film I kept imagining – if this were a play, the spotlight would go here and here, Boris’s friends would sit around a table near the right side of the stage and spotlights would focus on them after every important moment and the stage would be set in Boris’s apartment. I don’t believe the play was well adapted to film, but being a fan of the stage, I didn’t mind.

I have to admit, I was amazed that Larry David was able to play someone who wasn’t Larry David! But saying that, Boris is still quite similar to Larry David and has inherited his glass-half-empty approach (displayed in the TV series Curb Your Enthusiasm).

OK, I have to confess my one HATE for this film- and all films that possess this quality. No film except for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) should be able to get away with it. I speak of the evil that is film character’s that acknowledge their audience. Speaking to us, telling us their deepest thoughts, knowing we pay good money to see them live their life. For me, it ruins the spectacular fantasy that is cinema.

It’s not a film I would watch again at the cinema, but I will defiantly see it when it is released onto DVD. Although so far, I have only written negative thoughts about this film, I truly enjoyed it and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I’m not sure if it’s because of the character Melodie St Ann Celestine (played brilliantly by Even Rachel Wood), or if it’s the fact that I had found all the characters quite special.

I don’t mind Woody Allen and I do find his style unique. But like most of his films, at least the ones I have seen, you are left with mixed emotions. It all works out in the end, but at what cost? I found myself accepting that this relationship consisting of an annoying old and a pretty young thing could be possible, but in the end, the story had other plans for me…

Check it out if you can, but if you cant, do remember it in a couple of months when it appears in your video store.

Till next time,

S

Hong Kong Produce

October 12, 2009

If you are looking for a film that’s out of the ordinary check out a Hong Kong film called Dumplings (2004). This film will make you question dumplings for the rest of your life. This film has different dimensions. We see a woman, once a young actress, loose her confidence and slowly loosing her youthful beauty. We then see a woman who makes her living from dumplings that make people younger and back door abortions. We then see how these two people effect other lives, or should I say, potential lives. I have a huge issue with predictable films. Its nice on occasion, but I prefer new and odd narratives that linger with me for days and sometimes weeks. This film is not predictable. Its fresh and new and if you don’t mind subtitles, then definitely check this one out.

Also, another Hong Kong film that has just come out is called Accident (2009), where professional hitmen kill people by choreographing accidents. It looks amazing. I hope to check it out soon!

Till next time

S

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