Posts

Showing posts from June, 2011

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon

Image
my rating: 2.5 out of 5
Right now, as I type this, my head is pounding and my ears are ringing. I just got assaulted by the new epic blockbuster Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon.

Michael Bay is known for over-the-top, in-your-face movies that are way bigger than life. Out of all his movies, Dark of the Moon is the biggest, loudest, longest, most obnoxious 2.5 hours of movie sensory blitz he's ever done. This is the bad news and the good news, rolled into one.

On one hand, the good news is this movie has the best special effects of any movie ever made. The bar of special effects for Hollywood movies is so high these days that the effects are absolutely mind-blowing. Seeing this movie in 3D made me feel like I was hurtling through outer space in some scenes. The human characters looked great in super detailed 3D splendor, as well. The action scenes are more coherent than past Transformers flicks, too. You can actually kind of follow what's happening visually.

The down side is, the n…

The Green Lantern

Image
my rating: 3.5 out of 5
Imagine a ten year old boy, huddled under a "tent" blanket in his bedroom with a flashlight, reading Green Lantern comics in his pajamas. That was my childhood. I loved Batman, The Green Lantern, X-Men, and a handful of others. Out of the library of comic book characters to make a movie from, I never would have suspected the Green Lantern would be summer blockbuster material. But, as a childhood fan, I was excited to see a high quality movie made.
DC comics has some great characters, but the roster doesn't seem as deep as Marvel comic's list of comic characters. So, maybe that's why DC made a movie about the Green Lantern.

After reading a large bulk of negative reviews, I went from excited geeky man-child, to disappointed movie critic. I was hoping the movie wasn't as bad as all the critics made it sound. So, when I saw the Green Lantern this past weekend as part of a double feature, I was pleasantly thrilled. It far exceeded my expectati…

Midnight in Paris

Image
4.5 out of 5
I have a lot to catch up on. I know there are only like five people that read this blog, and this is for you. After taking a week off to bask in the glory of summer, I am back, with tons of reviews. I saw some great movies over the week, and I can't wait to post some reviews.
Also, I was holding out, hoping that someone would leave some comments on my "favorite flicks of summer", but whatever.
Over the week, I had the privilege of seeing Woody Allen's latest film, Midnight in Paris. I had a good feeling about it, and I was right. Midnight in Paris is funny, charming, romantic, and makes for an intelligent fantasy. I even gained some insight from this movie, too. This is the best Woody Allen film in over ten years, in my opinion. It's now on my all-time favorite Woody Allen list.
In most Woody Allen films, there is a "Woody Allen" character. This character, which was usually the protagonist, sometimes a side character, was the neurotic, intellec…

Favorite Summer Flicks

Image
June 21 is the first "official" day of summer. There are certain movies that just scream "summer." Cookouts basking in the hot summer sun, lounging by the pool, family togetherness, being out of school, and late sunsets in the rolling hills of East Tennessee. Ahhhh, summer.


Some of these "summer movies" don't actually having anything to do with summer. They're just the movies I love watching most in summer. Something about the themes of them, or the vibe, or the times when I first saw them, makes them perfect summer flicks.

Now, in no particular order, my top 7:

1.Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
Watching Luke Skywalker embark on a space mission to save the galaxy alongside Han Solo and Obi-Wan just reminds me of summer. Something about laying under a deep summer sky of stars makes me dream of 70's space adventures. Droids, aliens, and childhood heroes just bring out all the best of summer movie watching. I watched this movie with my family as a kid. …

The Adjustment Bureau: Now On DVD

Image
my rating: 3 out of 5


The Adjustment Bureau takes Hollywood romance and repackages it in a weird science- fiction format. It makes for a fairly enjoyable and unpredictable ride. It comes out on DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, June 21.


Matt Damon plays David Norris, an energetic and successful politician who meets a woman by chance in a bathroom. (Not as scandalous as it sounds.) Sparks fly between the two, even though they are both very reserved, and a curiously and emotionally restrained romance begins. However, outside forces begin interfering with David's life. Strange circumstances and forces begin to prevent him from pursuing Elise (Emily Blunt.) David realizes that there is an "adjustment bureau" in the otherworld that is assigned to manipulate people and circumstances in order to fulfill God's will.


This movie is based on a short story by Philip Dick. This guy died in 1982, but he has had several of his short stories and novels adapted to movies. Total Recall, Blade Runn…

Favorite Summer Flicks

Image
June 21 is the first "official" day of summer. There are certain movies that just scream "summer." Cookouts basking in the hot summer sun, lounging by the pool, family togetherness, being out of school, and late sunsets in the rolling hills of East Tennessee. Ahhhh, summer.

Some of these "summer movies" don't actually having anything to do with summer. They're just the movies I love watching most in summer. Something about the themes of them, or the vibe, or the times when I first saw them, makes them perfect summer flicks.


Now, in no particular order, my top 7:

1.Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
Watching Luke Skywalker embark on a space mission to save the galaxy alongside Han Solo and Obi-Wan just reminds me of summer. Something about laying under a deep summer sky of stars makes me dream of 70's space adventures. Droids, aliens, and childhood heroes just bring out all the best of summer movie watching. I watched this movie with my family as a kid. …

weekend recommendation: Two Lovers

Image
Looking for something to watch this weekend? How about a pre-crazy Joaquin Phoenix and lovely Gwyneth Paltrow in the shamefully overlooked movie Two Lovers. (2008) Each friday I am going to attempt to have a weekend recommendation for you!



Leonard (joaquin Phoenix) and Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow) are both trying to find themselves. Leonard lives with his parents, and even though he seems to be fighting some weird demons in his life, he is a generally good guy. Michelle, though she has made poor choices, is still a good loving person at heart. And, they must hide their true love because of their broken circumstances and prior commitments. If this sounds gritty and realistic, it's because this film hits the mark head on. These characters all make choices that they must live with. And, they are both hurting. Kind of like real life. It's a very interesting, dark love story. I particularly loved Joaquin Phoenix in a role that really highlights his quirks and allows him to get deep. …

You may have missed it: Moon

Image
Yesterday, I learned about a lunar eclipse by visiting Google. I felt ignorant for not knowing about it already, because I'm somewhat interested in astronomical happenings. Unfortunately, it was not visible from the United States (which is probably why we didn't hear more about it on the news). But, in parts of Africa, Asia, the Middle-East, and Australia, they got quite a show. It was supposedly the longest eclipse in about 100 years. (nearly 2 hours)This brought to mind a film I saw a while back called, appropriately enough, Moon.

Moon director Duncan Jones does a fabulous job of capturing the weird loneliness that must accompany three years of solace aboard a Lunar station. Sam Rockwell does a fairly apt job of portraying Sam Bell, a guy working for the Lunar company called Helium 3 on a three year contract,...by himself. Utterly, absolutely alone in the vast void of outer space. His only company is the on board computer named "Gerty" (voiced by Kevin Spacey.) Gert…

Willem DaFoe: best performance ever?

Image
As many of you loyal readers know, this movie blog is part of an association of movie blogs, or LAMB (Large Association of Movie Blogs). This month, we are looking at the works and performances of actor Willem DaFoe. As a contributor and member, I am writing about my favorite all-time performance of his as a vampire in Shadow of the Vampire.
My original fandom of Willem DaFoe began way back in 2000, in the form of an Oscar nomination. As a young whippersnapper college student, I was just beginning to gain an interest in independent films and subtle acting performances.
Shadow of the Vampire, for which DaFoe actually won Best Supporting Actor, is a dark, obscure, and ultimately bizarre telling of the making of the 1922 classic horror film Nosferatu. It is a bit convoluted because it is a fictional behind-the-scenes look at a real life film. Shadow asks the question: what if the actor that played "Nosferatu" had been a real vampire?
I was intrigued by DaFoe's weird, over-the…

Super 8 is Super Awesome

Image
I saw Super 8 last night, and it is incredible. I didn't originally plan to see it on the big screen. However, after a couple of intriguing trailers, and a swarm of positive buzz, I decided to see it. My co-blogger, Bumblebee, and I went last night. She liked it, too.

JJ Abrams has done a wonderful job with the most recent Star Trek, Mission Impossible 3, and other various tv shows and movie involvement. (He was a producer of the movie Morning Glory with Harrison Ford, that I loved!) My only apprehension about Super 8 was that it seemed reminiscent of Cloverfield, which JJ Abrams had involvement with. I didn't like it.
With Super 8, however, it is incredible. With Steven Speilberg producing and JJ Abrams directing, it has all the charm, energy, and sincerity of Goonies and the action of a modern summer blockbuster. It feels familiar, yet it is all brand new. It's definitely a surprise winner. With such other ginormous 2011 summer releases like Harry Potter, Green Lantern, P…

guest blogger: You've Got Mail

Image
Today I have a guest blogger. She knows a lot more about romantic comedies than I do! Let's just call her "bumblebee", and she has the buzz on romantic comedies!

For my first guest review on The Buzz, I had to review a romance comedy classic: You’ve Got Mail.
You’ve Got Mail has all of the right elements. It is romantic and funny. Nora Ephron (the romantic comedy queen) produced, wrote and directed. (Her works include Sleepless in Seattle, Bewitched and Julie and Julia.) It is set in New York City. The on-screen chemistry between Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks is undeniable. There is even a Christmas scene! What more could you ask for from a romantic comedy, right? Wrong. The movie has an extra element of whimsy that you don’t often see in similar movies. Its clever writing and brilliant tone add extra sparkle and make this movie a class above the rest.
For example, Kathleen Kelley, the movie’s heroine, has flawless taste and is adorable. It is throughout the entire movie. Just wa…

X-Men: First Class

Image
X-Men: First Class is awesome. In fact, I'm willing to say it's my favorite summer movie so far.

The only actors I really recognized were January Jones (from Mad Men), that other woman from the tv show Damages, and Kevin Bacon. They are both fantastic. In fact, all the casting is good.

I was a big fan of the comic growing up. However, even if you've never read an X-Men comic, this movie can be enjoyed. Of course, it certainly doesn't inhibit you to know some stories of these characters going in.

One of my favorite things about this movie is that it fills in a lot of the blanks that I never got from the comics. I'm sure they made comic book stories about the X-Men origins, but I must have missed them. I only got bits and pieces of the X-Men legacy along the way. So, it was nice to see this story fully filled out.

I also like that the story takes place in the 1960s. They stay true to that theme, and follow through with it. The story ties into the Cuban missile crisis t…

The Green Hornet

Image
The Green Hornet stars Seth Rogan as Britt Reid and Jay Chou as Kato. Cameron Diaz is surprisingly forgettable as Lenore Case, a secretary for Britt Reid. It was directed by Michel Gondry, who is best known for directing Bjork and Radiohead videos, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Dave Chapelle's Block Party. Seems a bit of an odd choice for director. But, Seth Rogan also seems like an odd choice to be screenwriter.

The results are mixed. Some scenes work really well, and carry with them a sense of discovery and fun. We get to see a giant garage full of utterly incredible classic and super cars. Witnessing the creation of The Green Hornet's famous car, The Black Beauty, was the highlight of the whole movie. What a sweet car.

Christoph Waltz plays the villain, Chudnofsky. After seeing his brilliance and subtlety in other roles, it was disappointing to see him ham it up to an almost unbearable degree. He didn't quite have the charm or fun to be an acceptable cartoon …

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Image
I know this review is a tad overdue. After all, the movie came out in 2008. But, the thing is, sometimes time brings clarity. Let me tread carefully here.

I both hate and love this movie.
First, the positives: Harrison Ford still has the spark. The movie is fun, exciting, innovative, visually bright, and fairly well-intentioned. The story carries you along a roller coaster of bold plot points, sparing nothing. Riding a brisk wave of cartoonish action and lavish special effects, this movie has a feel like the latest ride at Disney World: imaginative, lavish, and expensive.
Here's the negative: The original magic of the Indiana Jones series is not present here. The original sense of adventure is drown in a giddy flood of cartoon absurdity. And, the story derails on the premise of...alien visitation? Yeah, aliens. To quote Indiana himself, when he learns of the aliens, he says, "You gotta be kidding me." I think he's on the same page as the audience. I respect the effort…

The Wager

Image
Can a conservative Christian movie exist in the world of modern Hollywood? Can a conservative Christian become a movie star and uphold personal integrity?


This movie is a noteworthy effort in the realm of Christian movie making. However, it has its share of fundamental flaws. For starters, Randy Travis (and it hurts me to say this) doesn't quite fit the shoes of "super Hollywood action star." It just doesn't feel like a good fit. However, for the purposes of this film, it is acceptable. I could see Randy Travis wonderfully in the right role. However, it just doesn't quite make a "Tom Cruise". He has an amiable and accessible nature that is wonderful. But, to play a part like this, he needs a big shot of intensity, energy, and ego. He almost seems too friendly and laid back to play Michael Steele, who I imagine to be more like Vin Diesel.

Randy Travis plays Michael Steele, a supposedly famous and successful action movie star. In the wake of an Oscar nomina…