Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stay Cool...

Since the interweb has just arrived here in Cashville, posts are on their way...sit tight.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Terminator Salvation

At this point of the film John Connor (Bale) is questioning Marcus (Worthington) loudly about whether he thinks "is this professional?!" No I lied, but if you do want to see some of Christian Bale's best yelling feats, then check out this film.
Terminator Salvation revolves around the beginning before the first terminator film, involving Connor's learning his destiny to send back his father in time, and the invention of the T-800 serious Terminator (that's the type of terminator the Gov. plays). In all seriousness the plot is pretty simple if not for some sappy love stories dropped here and there but beyond that it follows a straight line.
McG had a big project to tackle here, I mean it's T-4, the script itself might as well have been self aware. I would like to see the behind-the-scenes of him and Bale interacting, because personally, I don't think he brought anything from Christian that we haven't seen before. However, Worthington attempts a star performance in this blogger's opinion. He comes out of the gates very strong with a good set of deep emotional undertones, he was feeling his character I believe, and doing a damn good job at keeping it. I did drop the "attempt" for reason though, when the going got tough, and the tough got to yelling, the Mick Dundee in this Aussie came out. Let's not hold this against him though, he may lose it every now and then, and yes Bale is good at dropping his Scottish accent no matter the vocal range, but the dude could still act his way out of a box, so lets get a golf clap. As for the other major players, Moon Bloodgood as Blair, gives an enticing performance, which counter acts Helena Carter as Dr. Kogan. I would think as Connors mother-to-be she would be a little more emotionally involved, but alas it is not, and Carter is not making me believe she is actually Kogan in the film.
I need a whole other paragraph for Common as Barnes, because here comes the dilemma. Is it the writer, actor, or director's fault in this situation. I couldn't tell if it was just bad lines "don't worry he will make it." or if it was bad acting "beautiful." or just bad directing "Blair said you needed to see me." Even simple one liners from this guy hurt. I am going to have to go with part writer and part Common, bad lines+bad delivery=UnCommonly bad screen-time (uncommonly was inspired by a John Tussey Dubosky convo. I had previously today).
As for Sharie Hurlbut as the DP. The cinematography was pretty simple and nothing really jumped out at me so I will give her a strong handshake and say, good job. The CGI and Effects teams though, KUDOS! They pushed their boundaries this time on a series of films that has been known to push the Special FX and Digital FX boundaries since T-1000 and beads of mercury on a table with hair driers. The machines somewhat resembled those from Transformers, which is perfectly fine, and I think they did a great job with their creation and execution.
Soundtrack didn't really jump off the screen this time, except for the use of a classic 90's alternative rock song used at one part, that was an nice move. The Sound FX were awesome I just have to say, everything fit perfectly. I think it's really hard to make something that doesn't exist sound authentic, and they pulled it off completely.
So it's time to get off of here before my mac book becomes self-aware and starts shooting at me. Would I go see this film in the theaters your probably wondering, yes. The sound and CGI are great and it is a very intense story line, so it was definitely enjoyable. Would I see it again, probably not unless it was free, nothing beats the old Terminator and T-2, but its worth its weight in liquid metal. Oh and look for some throw back lines in the film, they are masked a little by off note acting, but they peak their heads out.
Banan-a-meter: 6.6/10 Bananas

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Angels and Demons

If you have read the book(s) then please raise your hands. Now hands down, to this film. I walked into the theatre thinking, damn I sure hope this was Davinci Code Part Duex, and it wasn't this was a new movie, with one common link, Tom Hanks. YEAH!
Now I will make my attempt at a synopsis: Angels and Demons is about the Vatican, pope dies, then a bunch of zany stuff happens, and Professor Robert Langdon(Hanks) saves the day with his uncanny knowledge of lots of weird church stuff, even though he is an atheist. There. Seriously too many crazy things happen in this movie to even note. However, although it is crazy, it is smart. They took another Dan Brown novel and were able to adapt it very well to the screen, not too much unbelievable stuff to make it ridiculous, but just enough to keep you wondering what is coming next. For someone who has already read the book, I was still caught up in the suspense of this film.
Ron Howard knows how to direct, and he nails it with Tom Hanks in this film. He could have easily had Hanks do a repeat of Davinci Code, but no, they went a lot deeper. Hanks is Robert Langdon, I felt that every crazy connection he made, he actually did in his head on screen, he literally looked as if he was caught up in the film himself. Ewan McGregor also gives a stellar performance as the Carmengello, he tricked me again, even though I knew the plot, that he was on the outside loop with what was happening. As for Vittoria (Ayelet Zurer), she seemed to be overshadowed easily in this film, even at times I forgot all about her.
The cinematography was on par with the last film I thought, nothing too crazy and nothing very new. Salvatore Totino tried to stick to what he knew I think, so maybe next time Sal can you get a little more wild. However for all you filmies out there, please do pay attention to the eyelights on Langdon and the lack of eyelights on everyone else, made me think he might have a twinkle of brilliance in those little eyes.
The soundtrack for this was so-so, nothing too hair-raising or wild, something I would consider standard for what the film was covering. My only real gripe is that it was a little too heavy on the foreshadowing of events and too regular, you knew everything was coming and with a movie with so many twists why ruin their timing with early notes.
Lets get technical finally. First off, HOORAY they shot a good bit of this film on the One Camera from Red. If you don't know what this is, get on it pronto! This technology is breaking us poor indie kids out into the pro world of Hollywood, look out here we come. Also the CGI and Special FX team did a stellar job. I have seen the Sistine Chapel in person and I know you can't film or shoot anything in there, or probably most of Vatican, but they recreated everything to a T.
My friend Dan tonight suggested I start giving things a bananas rating on everything since I do hail from another nickname of Johnny Bananas, and I think I will start with this. This is a film that if you read the book, you should go rent, if you DIDN'T read the book, you should go see on the big screen.
Banan-a-meter: 7.6/10 Bananas

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Soloist

When i first saw the preview for this movie I remember turning to my friend at the theatre and saying "Oscar in the bag." After seeing this film though, I will have to tone down my previous remark to "Oscar in the bag, maybe." The story of a LA Times reporter (Mr. Lopez) who befriends a mentally ill homeless cellist (Mr. Ayers). On screen we get to see the darkness of the human mind and the workings of what can drive a man to be living on the streets. However to counter this darkness we see the bright love of music and the warm caring of two friends. Based on a true story, this film captures a unique friendship with skill. The film only lacks but one thing, a distinct ending, I am willing to let this slide though, since it is based on friendship, and one thing can be said for certain, a real friendship lasts eternal and has no ending.
Director Joe Wright did a solid job taking two of the top working actors in Hollywood and getting them to sing and dance for us on the screen. Hands down Mr. Downey had the best performance for this film. He shows such subtle tones with his character, even with such sarcastic lines he is able to apply a deeper emotion showing that he really does feel and want to help Mr. Ayers (Mr. Fox). As for the role of Mr. Lopez's (Mr. Downey) ex-wife and boss (Catherin Keener), I found her acting a little pushed and over the top. You could tell she still had feelings for Mr. Lopez straight from the beginning of film, there was no real character development there throughout the story.
As the cinematography, wow. Hats off sir, to you Mr. Seamus McGarvy. The movie is filled with beautiful shots such as the one above, one of my personal favorites, myself being a sucker for wide shots that capture a strong personal emotion between two people. Please pay close attention to the scene with the symphony when this movie is watched, it will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The color montage scene is perfect to say the least, after watching what McGarvy captures I was able to see into the brain of Mr. Ayers for a few moments, and it was beautiful.
Now to the part that ties it all together, the soundtrack. Superb. I am listening to it as I type this and enjoying every lick of the string. The soundtrack of this film is the third character, every note a line and every crescendo a cut. If I had to say one bad thing, and I must, yes it's killing me, the soundtrack did a little too good of a job of foreshadowing for me. It came in just moments too early and gave away that something was about to happen. That being said, the work done by Dario Marianelli is outstanding.
So I believe its time for me to come to my crescendo, overall I really enjoyed this film. In most cases I would allow someone to rent a movie of this caliber, but you must see this in a theater to get the full sound. Listening to this in surround theatre audio is like getting a warm hug. So if your looking for a bear hug, and no ones around, just go buy a ticket for The Soloist.

Getting this party started...

Benzo and I have decided to pull the trigger and get zany on the internet. He does music, and I do movies, so needless to say, we will be diving into the areas we know and have mild obsessions with. The grammar and spelling may not be superb at times but the content will be there, a diamond is still a diamond even if it is unpolished. Although our creative minds are separated by the mason dixon line phyiscally, our mental collaborative capabilities have never been stronger. Heres our two cents. Word.

PS. for all those wondering about the title, it's a qoute from a roadtrip between four amigos; a hippy, a skateboarder, a frat boy, and a kid with a lot of bracelets on his arm.