Monday, October 10, 2011

The Thing. A franchise that shouldn't die.

There are many film franchise's that deserve to live. Then there are franchise that deserve to be stoned to death. I have seen many film franchise's where they are so bad, that however Hollywood decided to continue the exploration of the franchise is still questionable.

One of the many few franchises that deserve to go away is The Human Centipede. A horror franchise that you just want to vomit directly in its face.

Yet, even though there are a lot of Horror franchises that are terrible(Friday the 13th anyone?), there are those that somehow survive the torment. The Evil Dead is one of the most marvelous franchise's to ever exist on film. And The Thing, which has an original, and a remake, and in a few days, will have a prequel.

I was lucky enough to see the Prequel before the audience, and this is a review for the upcoming film, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, The Thing.

I am not going to divulge to much info, only what I can.

In the frozen dead waste of the planet earth, 3 russian scientists are caught in an avalanche, while stuck in their car, they discover the scientific find that will change humanity forever. Dr. Sander Halversen(Ulrich Thomsen) enlists the aid of Dr. Kate Lloyd(Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Adam Goodman(Eric Christian Olsen, who oddly looks like Matthew Grey Gubblar). They are taken to a Norwegian base by Helicopter pilot Sam Carter(Joel Edgerton). Once they enter the base, they realize that they are the first humans to discover an alien organism that froze itself above its ship. Once it escapes, people die, one by one in just 3 days, realizing that if they do not kill the alien, then earth might be in danger.

For a horror film, it's actually gory entertainment. It may not be better than the original Carpenter version, but who said it was supposed to be?

This is actually more of a human drama than a horror movie. There is no romance between Kate or Sam, that would just make the film sappy, and hopeful. No, this film uses paranoia, and slow shots to give each character depth. No talent is wasted on this film. Everyone actually does a good performance from what the trailer presented the audience.

I have to give it up for Director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., he has a lot of respect for this franchise(one of his favorite films is actually Carpenters version of The Thing). He really took his time to dissect the story and the origins behind the Carpenter version. Even Universal Studio's didn't want to do a remake, they actually felt like it would be painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

The visual effects were my favorite part of the film. VFX were the main reason why I started loving and wanting to work in film was because of Visual artistry. The film uses both practical effects and computer effects. Each frame is well rendered enough to see and identify how the beast moves and kills.

Overall, I really liked this film, it was entertaining, slow paced to fill the paranoid void, and gory.

I give it 4/5 Stars

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

They say that greatest threat to mankind is nuclear warfare. I had to ask myself if that was true in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." Apparently I was correct, nuclear warheads aren't the worst possible threat to mankind.
If I had learned anything from watching Shark week over the past week, it should prove that nature doesn't have to be smart just to win the war between who is the dominant race of the planet. But what if somehow that changed all of a sudden. What would happen if nature found a way to make simians much more intelligent  than humans?
Survival of the fittest is what would happen. Man would fall, and a new organism would rise to where we once stood.

A reboot of the classic film "Planet of the Apes" staring Charlton Heston. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is a film that isn't truthful to its source because of continuity, and violent as a stand alone film. I am probably alone on this matter, but I believe this film should have been rated "R."

Centering on genetically engineered chimp Caesar (Andy Serkis), who was created in a San Francisco lab by an ambitious scientist (James Franco), and who uses his powerful intellect to lead an ape uprising against all of humankind.

If you have seen Burtons remake of "Planet of the Apes," it's a mess. So many things were wrong with that movie, although I applauded some of it for the campy humor from Paul Giammati. I was mixed on the idea that they were rebooting the series after the tragedy that was Burtons version. And as I watched the movie, I realized that they were trying to connect the original 1968 version with this update.

Going back to the original, you can realize that both the original 1968 version, and even Burtons version, had great make-up design for the apes.
We live in the age of CGI, which is one of the many reasons why I love filmmaking, and seeing motion capture used beautifully rendered in this film was just a breath of fresh air.
The CGI was largely in part of Weta Digital, which has done the motion capture for films like Lord of the Rings and Avatar. And seeing the God of actors for Motion Capture, Andy Serkis, could have been a dream come true. And it was. But as I saw some of the CGI, there were a few instances where it looked almost too digital. For example, a scene where Caesar is drawing and reading a book was not as great as some of the other shots.

The best shot in the entire film is where Caesar and his gang of simians jump onto a trolly in San Francisco and has a wide shot of them looking as if they are in control of the city. It is a powerful shot because it gives the sense that all hell is about to break loose. And to be fair, all hell broke loose before that shot even occurred!

Now, I like every actor in this film. But performance wise.... meh. Their characters are really underdeveloped. Even James Franco's who is supposed to be the lead performance. Frida Pinto was just a plot device, I mean really, there was no use for her character in this movie. Tom Felton, who you remember as Malfoy in the "Harry Potter" films, has a good performance, but could have been better by a margin. Every moment I see him in this movie, I say to myself "Great, Voldermort couldn't kill Potter, but Malfoy helped create the Rise of the Apes. He did what Voldermort couldn't do." There are really 2 great performances in this film. John Lithgow who plays Franco's father with Alzhiemers really gives a natural performance. And the best performance is by Serkis who plays every ape in this film. Sure he is really never seen on film, but how he reacts  as a chimp is remarkable.

As this is an original origin story, the film was written by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa. It's a pretty well written film, and I am glad they didn't make this into a worldwide attack but a much smaller attack. If it were to be bigger, then we would need to dig deeper into the mythos of the story.

I was pleasantly surprised by the cinematography of the film. It really gives you a natural feeling of being in San Francisco. A city that is just beautiful to embark. And I am also glad that I can see the action unlike some action moves *cough Sucker Punch* *cough Battle Los Angeles cough*. And as I said before, the cinematography is supposed to be the emotion of the film, and it does that quite well.

The score really gave the film a dark edge. I kind of felt scared while watching the movie and hearing the music combined so well. Damn you Patrick Doyle!!!

As the same with the cinematography, I am really glad the editing department was given the chance to help make this a great film. I was glad that Conrad Buff and Mark Goldblatt were chosen to edit the film. Both have worked on films that required the skill needed to make sure that the film was firmly rendered, and their reputation as editors don't lie, cause their work shows it.

Rupert Wyatt, director of The Escapist(2008) has a career ahead of him. He has naturally blended story and visuals to create a piece so thrilling, that it makes all the Avengers movies this year look bad. He has a delicate art, and I respect him for it. I hope to see more from him in the future.

Side Note

There is a documentary in theaters right now called "Project Nim" which is the true story about scientist teaching a chimp named Nim to learn sign language. I find it interesting that these two films have such close dates because it asks an important question "If chimps can communicate with us using sign language, is it telling us what we think it feels, or has the animal itself created the illusion that we think we know what it is thinking?" The doc. has taught us that chimps cannot be house pets for more than 5 years. Caesar was kept until he was 7 years old. Evolution might have helped during the process of the chimps transformation, but we might never fully understand it.

I give the film 4/5 Stars

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Cowboys & Aliens" review.

Anyone remember Battle: Los Angeles? If you do, can you remember how awful that movie was?! I can. And I also remember that I was much more interested in seeing "Cowboys and Aliens."
From Director John Favreau(Iron Man, Swingers, Elf) comes this highly entertaining nostalgic genre mash-up of Western and Science Fiction.

In 1873 Arizona, a loner named Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) awakens with no memory of his past and a mysterious shackle around his wrist. He enters the town of Absolution where he learns that he is a notorious criminal wanted by many people, including Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison_Ford), who rules the town with an iron fist. Absolution soon faces an even greater threat when alien spaceships attack the town. While his shackle holds the key to defeating the aliens, Lonergan must ally with Dolarhyde and other former enemies to make a stand against them.

If I was to ever choose my favorite genre, it would be sci-fi; that being said, I wish there could be more Westerns. It has been said to be a dead genre, but I would like to think that the genre itself is having a comeback.

I realize how ridiculous the title of the film is. I mean really? "Cowboys & Aliens?" Wouldn't it have been more appealing to call the film "Cowboys Vs. Aliens?" I would think Hollywood would decide on that title, but then I realized that this film is actually based on the Graphic Novel "Cowboys & Aliens" by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. So really, there was no hope in changing the name of a Graphic Novel.

I believe this film to have the best ensemble cast of 2011. Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Clancy Brown, Keith Carradine, Adam Beach, Ana De La Reguera, Walton Goggins, David O'Hara, Raoul Trujillo; all give a great performance with characters that give purpose to each character other than letting them stand in front of the screen doing nothing(which is what I feel from Sucker Punch) . I only have to say this, Noah Ringer is a really bad young actor; if you remember him, he is the little bastard that helped ruin the movie The Last Airbender. Ringer is just as bad since he adds no emotion within his character, I think it would have been better if he wasn't in the film. There's a clip below to show you a fraction of the performers doing their best.

When I go out to see a movie like C&A, I am there for the action and the visuals(seriously? What moron goes to see a movie like this for an Oscar caliber story?) Giving the fact that this film depended on the visuals to sustain the part of the Aliens, I had to consider what the Aliens would be like, and how they would react to their surrounding environments. Needless to say, however the geniuses behind ILM decided to come up with the visuals were spot on. Since most people identify Aliens to be somewhat Bug-like, it would have been a fact that they would look disgusting.
Side Note: I must say this, but ever since "Aliens," every space creature must have some sort of extra body part incased within the body itself.
At first, I wasn't too impressed with the design of the Alien space crafts. They looked like crap when I first saw them. But after seeing their full spec's and how they reacted to the environment(I had to give them the same rules as the creatures) I really enjoyed them. Hey at least they don't look like the really awful pizza figured drones from Battle: Los Angeles.

I really liked the music for the film, gave it an authentic feel of an actual western, and helped set in the mood for the film. As for the cinematography, I really think that Matthew Libatique(Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan) set in the mood perfectly for the film. I normally have a rule of thumb for films, an actor does not settle the mood for a movie, the cinematography does.

When a film requires more than 2 writers for a film, that worries me, it might be because either the movie itself is very problematic, or it was just too complex and needed to be toned down. I didn't really feel it with this film, but I did have some issues with the story that could have been fixed, like Ella for example. I wish they could have delved deeper within the mythos of Ella's character instead of just telling us who she really was. I really do understand that this film was not supposed to be serious at all, but at least fix up a lot of the details.

Favreau must have a lot of respect for westerns. He really does his best to try to make this film work. I really enjoyed Iron Man, and even though I was disappointed with the sequel, I was glad to see that this was his comeback from the many issues of Iron Man 2. He really dons the film style of a western for the film, evidence is shown in the opening scene with a very smooth pan shot to close up of Daniel Craig when he wakes up. Trying to mix genres is hard enough when he has two with nothing in common, so give credit to the man for being a great filmmaker who knows what he is doing(which is more than I can say for Zach Snyder).

I really enjoyed this film, very fun, great performances, great nostalgia piece, fun action film, and Olivia Wilde partially naked(which is worth the movie ticket if I may say so myself).

I give it 4/5 Stars.

p.s. Glory be that this film is not in 3D!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Beauty in the Media

For every time I have heard a woman or a man cry out over the fact that they do not have the body of their dreams, I would own my own ostrich farm. I love both men and women(yes, I am bisexual), but as I keep watching different types of films and TV programing; I feel like Hollywood has lost their minds when it comes to personality. If you watch so many films, beauty and body has become the definition of personality. In how many teen comedies does the asshole douche have to be so good looking? Or the alpha female have to be so blonde, and her curves so near perfect? Why does MTV only air programs with young adults that have to be either good looking, or their bodies so pumped?

The answer is clear-These "beautiful people," are only being used as a marketing campaign to sell us crap that we aren't going to need. As I watch informercials during programs, or before my movie starts, I see these campaigns for "beauty creams that will make you look beautiful by adding it to your ugly skin."

What they don't realize is how much they are hurting young children today. With those commercials, they are basically stating "If you are not beautiful, you will not succeed in life." And people do not realize that "beauty" is evil.

Reality Check

If I were to have kids, I would not want them to believe in people like Kay Perry, men and women in MTV, or just any other person marketing beauty.

When I look at actresses like Zooey Deschanel, Olivia Wilde, Rashida Jones, Tina Fey; or an actor like Alexander Skarsgard(who actually parodied a commercial while looking good on True Blood), I am seeing a glimpse of hope since they do not market beauty. They take pictures of their beauty, but they aren't selling subpar cream that doesn't work.

To end this blog, here is some quotes about beauty.

"When the people of the world all know beauty as beauty, there arises the recognition of ugliness. When they all know the good as good, there arises the recognition of evil." - Lao Tzu

"Why would you want to limit the spectrum of beauty to an “ideal” when you, as a popular womens magazine, have the opportunity to expand it? I don’t think any woman should have to feel as if she needs to shove herself into an “ideal” to be beautiful. Beauty should be something that is celebrated and something that is enjoyable, not something that people should feel uncomfortable about achieving. Most of the women, and certainly most of the adolescent girls, in the United States do not feel completely secure with themselves, especially with their appearance; is insecurity something you want to advocate? As American women, we don’t need discouragement, but inspiration." - Zooey Deschanel

Friday, February 4, 2011

Diary of a Random Depressed Cinephile Athiest.

Lately, I have been unable to tell people my true feelings. I write for the website Rotten Tomatoes, I review films, both praise and insult. It's easy for me to write an insult about a really awful peace of shit movie. So I figured that if it was easy for me to insult a movie without remorse, I should be able to blog about my feelings. I hate thinking about things at the moment, I like giving myslef time to think so I am able to give an answer that doesn't make me look like a dumbass. I guess I am going to do a blog like this every friday or whenever I feel depressed just to let off some steam.

It's difficult for me to express myself. Everyday I wake up next to a pompus ass who thinks he is correct about the theology of right or wrong, problem is, he wouldn't even understand what the word theology even means. He constantly smokes marijuana, and insults my mother when she tries to have a conversation with her. He calls her a bitch when she tries to aid him. My mother and faether are very traditional parents, most of their teachings came from their parents and religion, but I see their views differently. I am an athiest, and my entire family is full of Catholics, I am the only athiest in my entire families tree of life, my idealogies are now being viewed dangorously by my family, my friends could give a shit less if I am an athiest or not.

I have ADHD, if you don't know what that is, its Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, if you still do not understand what that is, here is the definition from wikipedia- is a neurobehavioral dvelopmental disorder It is primarily characterized by "the co-existence of attentional problems and with each behavior occurring infrequently alone" and symptoms starting before seven years of age." And it is very difficult for me to even try to study. I lack the ability to study like normal people can, ADHD is the main reason I am fucking awful in Mathematics. I am taking an H. Statistics class, everyone has either an A or a B, while I have an F, its not because I am stupid, its because it is very difficult for me to do all the types of Math that they can do, I can't even remember one formula, and It makes me feel stupid.

I also have Insomnia, if you haven't seen Christophers Nolans' "Insomnia", it is a condition where someone has a large lack of sleep. Lately I have only 3-4 hours of sleep, even on the weekends. So it is also one of the many reasons I myself feel like a dumbass. I try to sleep, I lay on my bed thinking, thinking about things I should be thinking during the day. If I look like a fucking zombie during the day, its because I didn't sleep, and when I think about the things I am thinking at night, I easily forget about them during the day. The Mind is a fucking mystery.

I am a very weird and random person. I do not do anything for attention. In fact, I hate attention. I dislike it when people call me an attention whore, I like to do weird things because it makes me happy, I don't know why it's hard for people to understand that. I do things that immideatly pop up in my head(yes, this damn diary was immidealty popped up in my head the moment I started writing it). My family dislikes the idea of me being wierd, they will never say wether they care or not, but I know in their hearts that they dislike me being random. And its not just my randomness that I know they hate, I can easily tell that they hate my social commentary as well. I have a very different opinion from theirs, I know all people are different, but the way they think, its like they are all robots. I once stated that Mexico could get things done if its citizens didn't have their heads stuck up their asses. What do I mean by that? I mean, Mexicans are very hypocritical, they say that they are family first, yet you go to that country, and you see children smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, driving at a young age, entering into pointless gangs, and the country is still feeling proud of itself. A women once stated that she would rather see children die in agonny than be with a loving family of gays, this women is famous in Mexico, and what she said, is an example of a reason why I said that statement.

My friends, I love my friends, all of them. Just as I love my family, my friends are my family to me. They were their the moment I started feeling depressed. But I feel as though some of them are barely realizing that I am depressed. I know I've been able to bottle up 7 years worth of depression within me, and I know my friends aren't mindreaders. Lately I feel like I have been annoying my friends ti'll the point of death, especially one girl, I feel like disappeaing for a period of time so I could give my friends a brake from the unusualness.

Yeah, I admittingly felt suicidal for the past few weeks, I'm still alive, but sometimes I feel as though people would be happy without me. How do you think I feel after wrighting that? I feel like shit and I feel like crying because I think that.

Why am I still alive if I feel depressed after 7 years? I guess film is the reason why I am still alive. I know its a douchebag thing to say that an object has given me more reason to live rather than my family. But when I see a film, I feel happy, a feeling that people only feel when they either get married, or when they have a new born child.I told my family that I have felt depressed for many years, yet they deny it because I am young. I had to scare them just to make sure they finally realize that I am fucking depressed, and I am very very fucking tired.

When I am awake, I hear this theme every time If you hear it, you realize that it is earie. If your wondering how I can deal with a theme like that. Its because I just feel somewhat disconnected from people. Even though every person is different, I wonder what is the interest between this new hipster generation. Whats the point of a fashion style? Its eventually going to go out of style, so you are waisting money on something that is possibly going to get out of style very soon? I don't get it.

I have a long life. I hope everything gets better. But when I wake up I know things are just going to get worse. Everyday, life just gets worse. But life is a random event day by day, you have to learn how to deal with it.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I know mine will suck ass, but I hope yours doesn't.
Sincerely, Christian Chavez.