Posts Tagged 'mainstream'

Wick-Quoting #45: Thor

“Whoever wields this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”

=======================================================
Out of all the big comic book movies that came / are coming out this summer, the only one I’d honestly never heard of was Thor.  Now having watched the movie, I still don’t feel any big need to read a comic, but… I can say I know of its existence now.  Actually sorry, that’s a bit of a harsh way to frame my opinion of the movie.

Brothers

Thor is about the titual thunder God pissing off his father and being cast to Earth to redeem himself.  He’s too hotheaded and war hungry, which his father disapproves of.  And since this is Hollywood, he’s going to meet a girl, who in this case happens to be played by Natalie Portman, and of course she’s pretty brainy but otherwise just runs around a lot and is often shocked by something or another.  Still, there’s a pretty strong cast of characters, and Loki and Thor’s relationship with each other as well as their father was the overall highlight of the film for me as it gave the movie a very real sense of emotion that I feel most comic book movies lack.  The battle scenes aren’t thrilling, but the special effects were pretty good.  Overall, the film is exciting and moves along at a good pace.  It’s not exactly the best comic book movie out there, or really anything super special on its own, but it’s pretty good for a one time feel good view to fit the summer blockbuster vibe.

Lovers

To conclude… I actually don’t have much else to say. I don’t know anything about the Thor comic books but the ending is just begging for a sequel, so we’ll see what happens there… and I probably will go watch it, if that does happen.  Also, for those of you who may know even less than me about this movie, it really has nothing to do whatsoever with actual Norse mythology.  But you probably all knew that already (hopefully) so these few sentences are just space filler.

7.6

Quoted by Sawazz

MWP: 7.7

New Site: http://www.mrwickedproductions.com/wickquoting/?p=189

Advertisements

Wick-Quoting #43: The Hangover Part II

“Well, used to be just baloney, but now they make you add number.”

=======================================================

Why does Hollywood continue to make bad movies?  Not only is it because Hollywood lacks original content, but it is also because people (like you and me) pay to watch the same kinds of films in order to get the same feeling as we did last time.  The Hangover Part II is one of those movies we pay to see because we know what we will get out of it.  The Hangover Part II is pretty much the same as the first movie – the exact same “wolf pack” in stupid situations.  Only this time, the story lacks basic fundamentals of being believable and humorous.

They're back...

Zack Galianakis, Ed Helms, and Bradley Cooper are again the main stars who go through an unfortunate series of events.  You would think that after what happened last time, the gang would be more cautious of Zack Galianakis’ character, Alan, but no.  They fall for the same trick, get drugged, and do some crazy shit.  You would think that the other characters would steer clear of Alan – he is unreasonable, immature, and unpredictable.  In the first movie, Zack Galianakis is hilarious.  In Due Date, his similar persona is still very entertaining to watch.  Now, in The Hangover Part II, Galianakis’ character is difficult to put up with.  His stupidity made me cringe many times throughout the screening.

Another song

And I know making fun of minorities is a fundamental part in mainstream American comedy.  It is in stand up, movies, television shows, etc.  But I find the making-fun-of-minorities in The Hangover Part II to be overdone and slightly offensive.  From Ken Jeong’s naked fury (yes it happens again) to the awkward Asian college kid, the film plays off on the demasculinity of Asian males that Hollywood has constructed ever since its birth.  Why must the movie have the Asian college kid carrying a stupid grin on his face despite the fact that he lost a finger?  Why must Jeong carry an accent and appear naked all the time?  Why must there be nude transvestites walking around on screen?  Why must Ed Helms’ character marry a hot Asian girl (Jamie Chung) and why must she agree to marry him despite his devilish demeanor?  And most importantly, why must the father be so easily persuaded by Stu’s gibberish and all of a sudden accept Stu as his son-in-law?  Yeah, I got a tattoo on my face, and yeah, your son lost a finger while under my supervision, but fuck, I am going to marry your daughter and you are going to like it!  Oh, yes sir…

Look out, Asian driving

Despite the racially, negative connotations, the film is still funny at parts, but not throughout.  However, I must be missing the joke that everyone else sees, because the movie has made over $350 million already from a budget of only $80 million.  If you want to watch a good comedy, forget The Hangover Part II – just watch the original.  Sure, Part II is mainstream and all, but it has all been done in the prequel – replace the baby with a monkey and Las Vegas with Bangkok and voila, you got yourself a Hollywood film.

5.9

Quoted by MWP

New Site: http://www.mrwickedproductions.com/wickquoting/?p=167

Wick-Quoting #42: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

“There should be a “Captain” in there somewhere.”

=======================================================

Yoho yoho a pirate’s life for me!  No matter what, you got to love the Pirates franchise, even if the latest installment is a bit on the disappointing side of the plank.  But really, you can’t expect much – what could have been done has already been done in the first three movies.  Still, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is not something you should just glance over (like the forth Shrek movie).  Although the new Pirates lacks a compelling story, it still has the sparkle of excitement from Captain Jack Sparrow.  And everyone loves Jack… except hipsters, of course.

Don't be a hipster

Pirates 4 starts a completely different story from its prequels, which most people would find as a wonderful thing, considering how a majority of viewers were getting tired of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley (I, on the other hand, loved them).  Out with the old and in with the new: replacing them are Ian McShane and Penelope Cruz.  While I enjoyed watching McShane play his bad guy role, I did not like Cruz all that much (despite her physical appeal).  She seems a bit out of place in the series, too clean and not rough enough.

They be mermaids in these waters!

The movie is quite long and in some parts, quite slow as well, especially because there is a lot of attention shown on minor characters.  I found these minor characters (the mermaid and the religious guy) to be very tedious and annoying to watch – I just wanted them to die and get them off screen.  I didn’t pay $10 to watch a budding romance between two characters who I don’t give a shit about – I want to watch Captain Jack Sparrow for crying out loud!

This island looks familiar

The ending of the movie is not very satisfying; however, the action, one-liners, and scenery make up for what the film lacks.  Pirates 4 had a budget of $250 million and has already made well beyond that (over $806 million worldwide).  Making that much money, there will probably be another sequel?  I guess this goes to show that this is the movie that almost caught the end of Captain Jack…

7.9

Quoted by MWP

Check out my new site: http://www.mrwickedproductions.com/wickquoting/?p=147

Wick-Quoting #9: Iron Man 2

Director, Jon Favreau, did it again with Iron Man 2.   The film carries on a similar attitude that the first one has – witty, bright, and charismatic.  Even though Iron Man 2 looks fun to watch, it has a predictable storyline.  Pretty much, a new bad guy appears and Iron Man takes him down in the end.  Although the film includes popular stars, such as Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson, I feel that the film won’t be that satisfying for people who are not Iron Man fans.  Despite all that, it is definitely a film you’d consider to be reliable: you will be entertained, but to what degree depends on many factors.

A flashy film calls for bright lights

Iron Man 2 is one of those big budget films which you know will create huge lines on the first couple of days it comes out.  The reasons for this are simple.  The film has: popular actors, such as Robert Downey Jr. (need I mention more?), good graphics, and a previous success story.  As I mentioned in a previous post, Robert Downey Jr. is a very convincing actor, and he fits the role of Tony Stark perfectly.  Just like for Sherlock Holmes, it’d be fine if you watched the film just to see Robert Downey Jr.

Most moviegoers (mainly guys) will probably watch Iron Man 2 because of the inclusion of Scarlett Johansson.  Johansson played her role well, although she is not a determining factor to watch the film.  Sure, she fits in some cool moves in her fight scenes, but besides that, her character really has no personality.  Characters with no personality = difficult for viewers to connect with = potentially bad film.  Thankfully, she only has a minor role in the film.

With impressive choreography and camera angles, Scarlett Johansson looks like she came straight-out of Kick Ass

All of the other actors have their moments in the film as well.  Mickey Rourke makes a convincing Russian villain (why is it always Russian?), and Jon Favreau helps in some extra comedy (although some of it is admittedly a bit lame).

I vant my pizza!!

And like all modern day films, ridiculous technology is shown being used.  There’s the typical scene where a character is faced with a conundrum,and figures it out just like that .  Who knew creating a whole new element could be so easy?  I guess the excitement of such quick reasoning and invention is what makes those types of scenes acceptable and common among mainstream films.

Overall, the film’s success is due to its actors and past film in the series.  When lookin at its originality, it really doesn’t branch off too far from the first movie, making it bland in story and style.  So if you watched the first one, you won’t miss that much if you skip out on the latest Iron Man.  But still, it’s a good watch, and a much better choice compared to Letters to Juliet or The Losers.

I'll be back... for sure

7.9

Wick-Quoting #5: 3-D

“Modern life is so thin and shallow and fake. I look forward to when developers go bankrupt, Japan gets poorer and wild grasses take over.”

-Hayao Miyazaki

=======================================================

I remember back when I was in middle school, my uncle took my siblings and I to see the new movie, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.  I have to admit, I was pretty excited, considering the fact I watched the previous two of the series and that it was going to be my first movie in 3-D.  The experience was disappointing, however – the story was bland and the 3-D wasn’t as great as I imagined it to be…

FALSE ADVERTISING!!

3-D at the time was something more experimental than it is today.  The reason for Spy Kids 3-D‘s success was because it was considered to be something new and different.  Of course today, it’s a completely different story, as people can choose whether to watch a movie in 3-D or not.  My main problem with 3-D is that it allows filmmakers to get lazy with their plots.  It’s almost as if the 3-D images can make up for anything that the film lacks.  This was definitely true with Spy Kids 3-D, which influenced me to already have a negative impression of 3-D, 7 years ago.

Nowadays, after the success of several movies in 3-D (such as Monster vs Aliens, the 3rd highest grossing animated film of 2009, and of course, Avatar), films in 3-D are coming out of Hollywood like ants on a hill.  Avatar, pretty much the main cause for 3-D craze, made way too much money (as mentioned in my previous post) causing the money makers in Hollywood in becoming greedier.  3-D, something which was rare only a couple of years ago, is now entering mainstream interest.  Just look at all the films that came out this past month. 

This is one movie where you can tell it sucks by watching the trailer

Clash of the Titans, a remake of a 1981 film, is a good example of 3-D influencing moviegoers.  It opened with $63.8 million in the US and Canada.  Even so, the film has generally poor reviews, and some even mention that 3-D hinders the experience.  Other films with 3-D additions include How to Train Your Dragon and Alice in Wonderland.  Getting even Tim Burton to join the movement is astonishing to say the least.  Burton, the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Sweeney Todd, needs no extra help in enhancing the worlds he displays.  This only goes to show how successful 3-D is so far and how money-hungry Hollywood has become (not that it wasn’t before).

Would this be better in 3-D?

This is not to say that some good movies are coming out in 3-D.  How to Train Your Dragon, for example, has both a decent story, and nice graphics.  3-D does add to the experience, but is this what people really want?

Having a dragon beats having a dog.. any day, any time period

However, Hollywood does have a reason for all of this, with problems due to pirating.  With actors and writers striking, lots of productions are being shut down.  About 50% of industry heads gone, and some big companies, like Paramount, are only making “big” movies (Transformers).  3-D is just the savior Hollywood was looking for.  It’s no wonder so many companies are turning to 3-D – it is much more difficult for people to pirate and enjoy a 3-D movie.  3-D requires people to actually go to the movies and pay the extra 3 dollars or so. Now here’s the kicker: Why are people willing to pay extra to see a movie in 3-D, even though the plot is most likely crippled by the visual enhancements?  Do people really rather want to watch movies like Transformers 2 instead of movies like Memento?

OMFG, THIS IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!11one1!!!1

Because of piracy and other problems, similar to what the music industry faced (and is facing) earlier, Hollywood is unable to support the middle directors and filmmakers, resulting in only the big budget, 3-D filled, story-deprived movies to exit the gates of Hollywood and enter theaters and dvd/bluray.  What is going to happen to all the potential masterpieces that resulted from these middle filmmakers?  Sadly, we will be seeing a lot less of them in the decades to come for sure.

My main fear is the film industry permanently going down the path of 3-D and visuals.  I’m all for some good graphics, but 3-D is pushing it a bit too far.  Films are made to allow people to experience what they see on the screen, and maybe, even feel like they are a part of it.  In the future, people might actually end up being in the films with 3-D aspects surrounding them 360 degrees.  This is not watching a film.  3-D does all the work for a movie, engaging viewers with the characters and plot.  I can only imagine the wonders it’ll do for character development and plot twist.

Spy Kids 3-D has made over 197 million worldwide. It's no wonder Rodriguez is writing a Spy Kids 4..

With legit films like Fight Club making only 100 million, I guess it’s time to say goodbye to these good old types of films and say hello to flashy and ridiculous (not the good kind) films.

PS: If you ever go movie hopping, I suggest supporting the good films and movie hopping the “cheap” 3-D stuff.. oh wait, you can’t cause you need the 3-D glasses, oh shit!!

Wick-Quoting #4: Kiki’s Delivery Service

Yet again, another young, little girl with short hair.  What is with this trend of young girls in Miyazaki’s films?  It seems as though Miyazaki has a fetish; but wait, this time, the girl has both parents, not only alive, but well too (unlike Miyazaki’s other popular work, My Neighbor Totoro).  This caught my attention as soon as Kiki’s mother mentions the father at the beginning of the film.  I thought that the radio was important to Kiki because maybe the father left it for her when he died, so I was really shocked to see she has a dad.

Father & Daughter

Miyazaki’s characters are always so independent, so I guess it is only natural to see Kiki fly off to another town on her own.  Even if it’s only for a year, I find it hard to imagine a 13 year old girl moving to a completely new area and taking care of herself.  The fact that Kiki is separated from her parents makes her similar to Miyazaki’s other heroines, who have to fend for themselves.  However, I must say that the inclusion of parents makes the film a much more reassuring and happy experience.  It definitely makes the film much more “child friendly,” despite the obvious complex issues.

Kiki’s problems allows for three benefits to happen throughout the film: 1) a break from mainstream views, 2) unique comedy, 3) and a bunch of “aww” moments.

1) Being an animated film, Kiki’s Delivery Service has plenty of opportunities to try out new concepts; and knowing Miyazaki, that’s pretty much expected.  It’s amazing how Miyazaki is able to easily create such worlds, where it doesn’t force viewers to question the legitimacy of the fantastic.  As you watch the film open, you generally just accept what Miyazaki throws at you.  In Nausicaa, it’s the ohmu, in Porco Rosso, it’s Marco’s pig-like appearance, and in Kiki’s Delivery Service, it’s Kiki’s ability to fly.  Acceptance of the wondrous is paralleled with the characters in the film, such as the townsfolk surprised, but relaxed reaction of Kiki flying down on a broomstick.

Unlike mainstream media, Kiki’s has many surprises.  In the scene with the dog and Jiji (the cat), a chase sequence is expected, especially because a cat-and-mouse chase scene is referenced.  However, the film goes beyond the expected behavior and displays a more mature side, as if foreshadowing Kiki’s development at the end.

What a nice dog..

2) Another aspect which is great about this film is the humor.  Thank goodness, Kiki’s does not contain immature toilet humor.  A scene like that would’ve totally ruined the flow of its sophisticated jokes.  Parents can rest assured, knowing that their children won’t rot from the typical G rated humor.

Humor is delicately scattered throughout the film, like markers of comic relief.  Jiji is an excellent comic indicator, as he spouts humorous phrases and reactions (esp towards the female cat, Lily).

Such blunt humor!!

3) Like Totoro, this film contains many parts of special bondage between the characters.  These usually come from the little gestures in the animation.  For example, the baker hiding when Kiki comes back from work and walking out nonchalantly, as if coming out coincidentally as Kiki arrives, is such a minor detail that viewers might miss.  But it tells a lot about the characters, such as the baker’s shy manner, his wanting to look cool, and his openness to Kiki’s hug for the sign that he makes for her business.  These little gestures make the film much more realistic and relatable towards the general audience.  Practically everyone experienced a time where they showed kindness for another.

What a sweet moment

It's the little moments that make you feel all gooey inside

Even so, Kiki’s is not just all flowers and butterflies.  What makes the film so enjoyable to a broad audience is all the different qualities packed into one.  If Kiki’s was to be a Mario Kart character, it would probably be Luigi – not the signature Miyazaki film (like Totoro), but still well-rounded in all sorts of different (film) elements.  At some points, it is a drama or fantasy, and at many others, a comedy.  At one point, it even seems like a racing film as Kiki and Tombo speed down the hill on the propeller-powered bicycle.

It looks like they’re gonna drift

Not only is the animation up-to-par (esp considering its age), the music reaches the typical Miyazaki film level.  Even though the music is not as recognizable as let’s say, Howl’s Moving Castle‘s is, it still goes along nicely with the story and setting.  And as always, Miyazaki skillfully places a silent scene at the climax, similar to many other of his films (Castle in the Sky/in the snake’s lair).  The silence only makes the film more exciting as it is followed by loud cheering.

With animation, practically any shot can be achieved, allowing for new, exciting angles

And the crowd goes wild!!

I must say, this is one of my favorite Miyazaki films (which includes Howl’s) mainly because it is one of the most feel good stories.  There is no real conflict like in Nausicaa, which leaves for an easy viewing.  Even though Jiji ends up not talking at the end, it’s still reassuring, because cats aren’t supposed to talk in the first place.  Also, Kiki becomes generally accepted in her new town and gains a close relationship with Tombo.  Jiji not being able to talk with Kiki also shows the maturity level that Kiki gains over the course of the film.

+ maturity = + assurance

Growth is seen in Kiki as she matures and is able to relate with her new friends, leaving her days of talking to her cat behind.  The film does show a valuable life lesson – even if you lose something important, another thing takes its place, making life more sporadic and enjoyable.  Maturity isn’t as bad as you think, as the film shows.

Kiki & Jiji reunite

Side Note: This film was released only 5 days after I was born!!

9.1


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3 other followers

RSS MrWickedProductions

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Wick-Quoting

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

mrwickedprod

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Blog Stats

  • 54,433 hits
Advertisements