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CroMag -- Brave? You must have daughters. My daughter is chomping at the bit to see that one.

My oldest daughter wants to see it. But, truth be told, I enjoy most of what Pixar puts out. The "Cars" movies are the only exception, off the top of my head. But I loved all the "Toy Story" films, "Wall-E," "Ratatouille," "Up!", "Finding Nemo," "Last House On The Left", uhhh...

Wait, that last one wasn't Pixar. Scratch that.

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I hate to be the wet blanket in this, but I'm really questioning how good Brave is going to be. Pixar is at their best when they were independent, making great stories with great characters. Brave looks a little too Disney to me. I'm sure I'll still see it, but I'm hoping it livs up to the other Pixar classics.

Also, I'm with NJ, I'm pretty stoked about Prometheus, Dark Knight and the Avengers. Early reviews of the Avengers have been outstanding, so I'm looking forward to it.

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I just saw 5-Year Engagement. Funny, but also thought-provoking. Definitely not the chick-flick romantic comedy you might think it will be when you see the title.

Good to hear. The posters makes it looks exactly that, but I'm glad to hear it has more than the standard rom-com beats and gags. May have to check it out at some point.

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So, anybody get out to see this little independent art-house movie called "Avengers" this weekend?

I did. I enjoyed it. Good mix of action and humor. Storyline was about what I was expecting, though.

It'd be nice to see this "little engine that could" turn a profit, but I have my doubts.

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So, anybody get out to see this little independent art-house movie called "Avengers" this weekend?

I did. I enjoyed it. Good mix of action and humor. Storyline was about what I was expecting, though.

It'd be nice to see this "little engine that could" turn a profit, but I have my doubts.

Hilarious. Have plans to see it next week. Really looking forward to it! Going to see that animated Pirates movie with the lady this week. Ahhh, the things you do when you're in love but reviews have actually been good, so I'm looking forward to it!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Randomly watched an independent movie called "Another Earth". It was brilliant in my opinion, not really a sci fi movie but more of a drama. I recommend it if you are ever bored one night.

Another Earth got very good reviews, just missed it when it was out in theaters. Looking forward to seeing it soon1

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Another Earth got very good reviews, just missed it when it was out in theaters. Looking forward to seeing it soon1

You will either love it or hate it. I absolutely loved it :D

Great acting in it as well and the budget was only $200,000. I love these kind of movies more than those hundred million dollar budget summer blockbuster fiasco stuff haha.

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Speaking of hundred million dollar blockbusters.....

New Movie Review

The Avengers

When The Avengers project was first announced after the success of 2008's Iron Man, comic book fans rejoiced. This wasn't going to be some slapdash tale of a super team fighting baddies. This was going to be something more, something larger than life. Three films followed: Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America. Having seen all these movies, Captain in August of last year, I realized The Avengers could be a smashing success, so long as they two things right. One, give the team a very strong antagonist and two, build the team in a natural way without wasting time on individual character development. That's what the movies were for. Now, over a billion dollars in box office sales later, I can safely say director Joss Whedon and company did just that and so much more. The Avengers isn't just the best summer opening film I've seen in years, it's one of the best superhero movies ever made.

Forgive the plot summation as I imagine 90% of you have seen this already, but here goes. Loki, brother of Thor, has snagged control of the mystical Tesseract, an artifact that holds near limitless power. His aim? To become the ruler of all rulers, starting with the pitiful mortals than inhabit planet Earth. In response to this new threat, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) activates the "Avenger Initiative", bringing together Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the newly thawed Captain America (Chris Evans), Mr. Anger Management Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and billionaire playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Together, with the help of some of the lesser known Avengers crew, such as Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), the team works to stop Loki's extraterrestrial forces from invading planet Earth.

The biggest success of the film is the natural development of the Avengers team. Rather than everybody coming together for the common good, there's some drama on the squad. Tony Stark and Captain America face off, Thor finds us Earthlings surprisingly petty and Hulk is just trying to keep from getting pissed. There's natural tension here, expertly woven in Joss Whedon's fantastic screenplay. This tension helps give us something to care about, making the team cohesion even more exciting in the film's third act. It's also worth noting that the previous movies are not required viewing to enjoy this, but if you haven't seen at least the Iron Man flicks, the characters may come off a little flat. Of course, this is done by design and Whedon does a great job on focusing on the characters developed in the films and leaving the other members of the team to true supporting roles. In fact, you could call this Iron Man 2.5, but that's a wise choice as Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark is easily the strongest character in the troupe.

The rest of the cast does a fine job in the roles given. Hemsworth is likeable as the Asgardian Thor, Mike Ruffalo is an excellent choice to replace Edward Norton's Hulk and even Captain America, I character I found one noted in his feature length, develops nicely thanks to his run ins with Tony Stark. Loki is also a very smart choice as the main villain. Given his familial back story with Thor, his conquest has weight, especially given the events of their feature film. Again, those who haven't seen Thor may find Loki to a bit over the top, but I found the antagonist interesting and gripping. Even Sam Jackson, who only made small appearances in the credit scenes of the original movies, find plenty to work with as the devious but well meaning Nick Fury. The cast is unilaterally well chosen and work great together.

Of course, this is a summer action movie. Most filmgoers aren't looking for a slice of life drama, they're looking for heart stopping action. Marvel movies are known for their big bangs and The Avengers is no exception. Literally every fifteen minutes, something awesome is happening, whether it's the surprising reveal of the Avengers base or Iron Man screaming along the Manhattan skyline. Everything culminates in the third act, which is essentially one long battle sequence and while you might find yourself tiring after the twentieth minute, Whedon brings you right back to the action with more kick-assery. The film also features some classic Joss Whedon humor. Full of quips and jokes, the levity in The Avengers always works and gives the film a very distinct feel.

In short, The Avengers is just that. Fun. Fun characters doing awesome things in defense of our petty little planet, Joss Whedon's first major studio film is a stylish and exciting homerun. Usually around this time, I start looking at the summer lineup with a hint of dismay. Loud movies made by money hungry studios, all searching for their piece of the hot weather audience. These movies are usually dumb and fitfully entertaining, a perfect opportunity to get in out of the heat and turn your brain off for two hours. Joss Whedon's Avengers redefines that stereotype, providing an intelligent, honest and fully enjoyable film going experience everybody should see on the big screen. Last year, I had some mental guidelines for the success of this Marvel mashup and thanks to smart writing, good direction and an excellent cast, The Avengers more than lives up to the hype.

Score - 9 out of 10

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Speaking of hundred million dollar blockbusters.....

New Movie Review

The Avengers

I saw it in IMAX 3D at 3am the night it came out. I must say it was an amazing movie. But I am still more of a DC comics fan and I can NOT wait until Rises comes out, going to be very epic to say the least. Still very interested in who Joseph Gorden-Levitt plays, but I'm not a fan of spoilers so just going to have to wait!!

Also, LGD tomorrow #BecauseItsTheCup

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Has anyone else here seen that new-ish Kevin Smith flick Red State? I just watched it and am scratching my head as to what to think of it.

First reaction was "huh?" Not as in "I can't comprehend what I just saw," but rather "What exactly was Smith trying to get across with this film?"

None of the characters were particularly deeply developed. Some scenes dragged while others seemed glossed over. Certain typical horror movie tricks (gritty camera work, flickering fluorescent lights, action sequences that look like they were filmed with a strobe light, etc.) were overused. And, overall, while it was billed as a horror flick, it didn't have the feel of any other horror flick I've ever seen before. No creepy crawlies, no aliens, no monster under the bed, no psycho killer in a mask.

I'll admit, I cheated and tried to look up other people's reviews on Netflix to see what I was missing. The very first one shown is the one that got the most "useful" ratings, and it's either spot-on or made up. The horror of the movie isn't in a monster or a psycho killer or an alien or whatever. It's in everyday things that are involved in our lives. Teenagers make stupid decisions that sometimes have horrific consequences. Extremists make even more stupid decisions that have even more horrific consequences. And the government ... well ... they take the cake. Is that the horror Smith was aiming for? If so, then maybe he did achieve what he set out for. I'm not entirely convinced, though. I feel like that explanation could be a too-convenient Scrotie McBoogerballs situation (South Park fans will get the reference).

One way or another, it is definitely a very, VERY vast departure from what anyone familiar with Smith's work would come to expect from him. It takes courage to swing at something that isn't in your wheelhouse. I'm not enough of a film buff to say for sure whether or not he knocked this one out of the park, but it definitely held my interest, and it must have been entertaining because those 88 minutes felt like 30.

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Has anyone else here seen that new-ish Kevin Smith flick Red State? I just watched it and am scratching my head as to what to think of it.

First reaction was "huh?" Not as in "I can't comprehend what I just saw," but rather "What exactly was Smith trying to get across with this film?"

None of the characters were particularly deeply developed. Some scenes dragged while others seemed glossed over. Certain typical horror movie tricks (gritty camera work, flickering fluorescent lights, action sequences that look like they were filmed with a strobe light, etc.) were overused. And, overall, while it was billed as a horror flick, it didn't have the feel of any other horror flick I've ever seen before. No creepy crawlies, no aliens, no monster under the bed, no psycho killer in a mask.

I'll admit, I cheated and tried to look up other people's reviews on Netflix to see what I was missing. The very first one shown is the one that got the most "useful" ratings, and it's either spot-on or made up. The horror of the movie isn't in a monster or a psycho killer or an alien or whatever. It's in everyday things that are involved in our lives. Teenagers make stupid decisions that sometimes have horrific consequences. Extremists make even more stupid decisions that have even more horrific consequences. And the government ... well ... they take the cake. Is that the horror Smith was aiming for? If so, then maybe he did achieve what he set out for. I'm not entirely convinced, though. I feel like that explanation could be a too-convenient Scrotie McBoogerballs situation (South Park fans will get the reference).

One way or another, it is definitely a very, VERY vast departure from what anyone familiar with Smith's work would come to expect from him. It takes courage to swing at something that isn't in your wheelhouse. I'm not enough of a film buff to say for sure whether or not he knocked this one out of the park, but it definitely held my interest, and it must have been entertaining because those 88 minutes felt like 30.

Yeah I watched this a few weeks ago.

I wasn’t aware it was billed purely as a horror movie to be honest. I thought it was supposed to be a sort of Action or Thriller movie with a twist. I think a lot of the "Huh" might come from trying to place it into a genre. After tying to work out what sort of film it was, I decided it wasn't really that important and tried to just accept it for what I had seen.

I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but in some cases I think it was intentional. Without giving anything away to anyone who has the intention of watching the film, I think that certain characters were underdeveloped so it was a surprise when they became the focus of the story. Well that’s certainly the feeling I got from it anyway.

A lot of the shock and I guess the horror of it comes from the movie not playing out at all how you would expect it. I think Smith was hoping people would try and start second guessing what was going to happen, or looking for the horror movie cliché , and then got a shock when the sequence of events didn’t follow the well establish path horror movie “path”, so to speak. Also I guess a lot of the horror comes from the fact that there aren’t any monsters, these are supposed to be real people, and it makes it slightly more plausible and realistic over say, a 20 foot alien with acid for blood. Also the level of violence towards what we perceive as innocent people with such calculated conviction can also be pretty horrific. I am not sure the Scrotie McBoogerballs argument rings true for me because if that’s the case, I didn’t find it that horrifying for the sake of being horifying, Saw and Hostel fall into that category, I don’t think this does.

Also I might be reading into it way too much but with the ending, particular what happens to John Goodman, the maybe Smith was trying to point out that although the churchgoers were clearly crazy, that some of what they were saying in terms of the loss of morality (obviously not to the extent which they were preaching) in modern times might be true, particularly with some of the comments and actions of the senior FBI members and their actions. Sort of like two sides to every coin? The same could be said for the government agents. But like I said that was just my own feeling, and that might be at a push just trying to make some sense out of what I saw.

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Yeah I watched this a few weeks ago.

I wasn’t aware it was billed purely as a horror movie to be honest. I thought it was supposed to be a sort of Action or Thriller movie with a twist. I think a lot of the "Huh" might come from trying to place it into a genre. After tying to work out what sort of film it was, I decided it wasn't really that important and tried to just accept it for what I had seen.

I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but in some cases I think it was intentional. Without giving anything away to anyone who has the intention of watching the film, I think that certain characters were underdeveloped so it was a surprise when they became the focus of the story. Well that’s certainly the feeling I got from it anyway.

A lot of the shock and I guess the horror of it comes from the movie not playing out at all how you would expect it. I think Smith was hoping people would try and start second guessing what was going to happen, or looking for the horror movie cliché , and then got a shock when the sequence of events didn’t follow the well establish path horror movie “path”, so to speak. Also I guess a lot of the horror comes from the fact that there aren’t any monsters, these are supposed to be real people, and it makes it slightly more plausible and realistic over say, a 20 foot alien with acid for blood. Also the level of violence towards what we perceive as innocent people with such calculated conviction can also be pretty horrific. I am not sure the Scrotie McBoogerballs argument rings true for me because if that’s the case, I didn’t find it that horrifying for the sake of being horifying, Saw and Hostel fall into that category, I don’t think this does.

Also I might be reading into it way too much but with the ending, particular what happens to John Goodman, the maybe Smith was trying to point out that although the churchgoers were clearly crazy, that some of what they were saying in terms of the loss of morality (obviously not to the extent which they were preaching) in modern times might be true, particularly with some of the comments and actions of the senior FBI members and their actions. Sort of like two sides to every coin? The same could be said for the government agents. But like I said that was just my own feeling, and that might be at a push just trying to make some sense out of what I saw.

I can't really disagree when anything you said.

The more time goes by, the more I think I really like this movie. It's lingering in my head with different possible meanings and messages. To me, one of the greatest definitions of art is something that's pleasing to the senses while being open to interpretation. This was definitely fun to watch, and it's very much open to the interpretation of the viewer. I think I might re-watch it tonight and see if anything else jumps out at me.

And FWIW, I ended up watching the recorded live-audience Q&A Smith did after this movie came out. It was fairly enlightening. It turned out the impetus to make the movie came from seeing just how batsh!t crazy the leaders of the Westboro Baptist church are, and he wanted to do a horror flick on how scary people like that can be. The original ending he wrote was COMPLETELY different from what ended up playing out (hint: it would have blown the movie budget sky high).

Edit: Just wanted to add that Michael Parks is friggin phenomenal in this film. Just a ridiculously good performance.

Edited by DaneykoIsGod
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I can't really disagree when anything you said.

The more time goes by, the more I think I really like this movie. It's lingering in my head with different possible meanings and messages. To me, one of the greatest definitions of art is something that's pleasing to the senses while being open to interpretation. This was definitely fun to watch, and it's very much open to the interpretation of the viewer. I think I might re-watch it tonight and see if anything else jumps out at me.

And FWIW, I ended up watching the recorded live-audience Q&A Smith did after this movie came out. It was fairly enlightening. It turned out the impetus to make the movie came from seeing just how batsh!t crazy the leaders of the Westboro Baptist church are, and he wanted to do a horror flick on how scary people like that can be. The original ending he wrote was COMPLETELY different from what ended up playing out (hint: it would have blown the movie budget sky high).

Edit: Just wanted to add that Michael Parks is friggin phenomenal in this film. Just a ridiculously good performance.

Yeah i agree, i was a bit puzzled at the end, and then very quickly came to the decision that i really enjoyed the whole thing.

Thanks for the tip about the Q&A i will try and find it. From the sounds of things, maybe my thoughts he might be trying to show both sides of the coin/ modern morality could be off the mark, but that was the feeling i got at points through the movie anyway.

Agreed on Parks, his performance is key to making the movie so good.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Saw Ted yesterday. Not half as funny as I thought it'd be. A lot of jokes fell flat.

Shoulda seen Spiderman instead.

I have now seen both, and I liked Spiderman more. Ted had some good crack-ups, but I felt it could have been so much funnier. And of course a lot of good jokes were used in commercials, so they don't make you bend over in your seat; you just sort of grin widely and nod.

Spiderman delivered well on graphics and stunts, though the theme of hero-as-vigilante whom police want off of the streets was sort of already used in Batman Begins. And how is Emma Stone still playing a high schooler?

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  • 6 months later...

ZOMBIE THREAD, BACK FROM THE DEAD!

With the season starting back up, it stands to reason that the forum will be getting more traffic. Seems like a good time to dust this sucker off.

I'll get that ball rolling with a reluctant review. The wife-to-be dragged me to see Les Miserables. Now, the only musical film I ever enjoyed was the South Park movie, and the only stage musical I ever enjoyed was The Producers. Les Mis was at a disadvantage for my tastes right away since it isn't a comedy. But I pushed my biases aside as best I could and tried to keep an open mind. The result?

Didn't like it.

There are two primary reasons for this. The first of which has to do with the plot:

Since I've never read the book, seen prior film adaptations, or seen the stage production, I can't say whether this film took any liberties with the plot. That said, I thought there were two major cop outs. With two characters, there were very intriguing plots developing. Forgive me for forgetting their names, but the inspector (player by Russel Crowe) and the daughter of the inn keeper who is hopelessly in love with the main character girl's love interest. Both of them have tremendous conflict that builds and builds and seems to be leading to a eureka moment or a tremendous clash ... but they both die. What a disappointment! From a writing standpoint, both of their deaths were such an easy way out of actually coming up with a conclusion to their inner dramas.

The other had to do with the stage-to-film adaptation. It just didn't feel like a film. It felt like the kind of thing that is so big on stage that it feels miraculous to pull off, but the screen seems too big for it. The only scene that seemed to properly use all of the big screen movie magic was the opening scene. After that, it felt like a shot-by-shot reproduction of a stage show with a few sweeping panoramic shots thrown in for good measure.

Aside from that, a lot of the acting was good. Hugh Jackman was the star of the show. He deserves any accolades he receives. Russel Crowe seemed uncomfortable singing every line, and had this been a song-less adaptation I think he would have been outstanding. Sasha Baron Cohen provided adequate comic relief along with Helen Bonham Carter.

Altogether, I really wish they had the balls to make this a non-musical adaptation. Maybe that's just my personal taste, but it seemed like they were just trying to ring up ticket sales for people who love the musical and the songs (my fiancee among them) rather than do anything original. Even with my personal tastes, I feel like I would have really enjoyed seeing this on a stage. But, for me, the screen version just was a waste of time.

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ZOMBIE THREAD, BACK FROM THE DEAD!

With the season starting back up, it stands to reason that the forum will be getting more traffic. Seems like a good time to dust this sucker off.

I'll get that ball rolling with a reluctant review. The wife-to-be dragged me to see Les Miserables. Now, the only musical film I ever enjoyed was the South Park movie, and the only stage musical I ever enjoyed was The Producers. Les Mis was at a disadvantage for my tastes right away since it isn't a comedy. But I pushed my biases aside as best I could and tried to keep an open mind. The result?

Didn't like it.

There are two primary reasons for this. The first of which has to do with the plot:

Since I've never read the book, seen prior film adaptations, or seen the stage production, I can't say whether this film took any liberties with the plot. That said, I thought there were two major cop outs. With two characters, there were very intriguing plots developing. Forgive me for forgetting their names, but the inspector (player by Russel Crowe) and the daughter of the inn keeper who is hopelessly in love with the main character girl's love interest. Both of them have tremendous conflict that builds and builds and seems to be leading to a eureka moment or a tremendous clash ... but they both die. What a disappointment! From a writing standpoint, both of their deaths were such an easy way out of actually coming up with a conclusion to their inner dramas.

The other had to do with the stage-to-film adaptation. It just didn't feel like a film. It felt like the kind of thing that is so big on stage that it feels miraculous to pull off, but the screen seems too big for it. The only scene that seemed to properly use all of the big screen movie magic was the opening scene. After that, it felt like a shot-by-shot reproduction of a stage show with a few sweeping panoramic shots thrown in for good measure.

Aside from that, a lot of the acting was good. Hugh Jackman was the star of the show. He deserves any accolades he receives. Russel Crowe seemed uncomfortable singing every line, and had this been a song-less adaptation I think he would have been outstanding. Sasha Baron Cohen provided adequate comic relief along with Helen Bonham Carter.

Altogether, I really wish they had the balls to make this a non-musical adaptation. Maybe that's just my personal taste, but it seemed like they were just trying to ring up ticket sales for people who love the musical and the songs (my fiancee among them) rather than do anything original. Even with my personal tastes, I feel like I would have really enjoyed seeing this on a stage. But, for me, the screen version just was a waste of time.

They actually did a non-musical adaptation of it a few years ago with Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush and Uma Thurman.

In other news, I really liked Zero Dark Thirty.

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