Month: November 2019

Star Wars: Through the Eyes of a Noob

Star Wars: Through the Eyes of a Noob

When you hear of a ‘movie buff’, what do you think of? You’ll probably think that person has seen all of the classics. While this can be true, it isn’t for me. I am a movie buff, but I just saw the Star Wars movies for the first time this past month. Let’s have a little background:

There’s no doubt that I like movies. My movie collection is tucked away nicely in the corner of the room. Scores of DVDs and VHS movies line the shelves of my hand made movie cases. On one wall is the very wide and tall VHS shelf, sporting around three hundred of the fat and now out-dated film medium. On the adjacent wall, a thinner, but equally tall shelf now overflows to the ground in front of it with over two hundred DVDs. Yeah, I guess you could say I like movies. I try to buy the most special edition versions I can, and display those special boxed sets on a check mark shelf I bought at Ikea.

Still, I hadn’t seen Star Wars. Not even a minute of it. Sure, I knew a lot about the story. People just expect you to have seen it, so they let all manner of plot points slip during dinner or social gatherings. Thanks, pals! Now I know who Luke Skywalker’s dad is!

I had opportunities to see the original Star Wars trilogy, but those plans never came to fruition. My brother, who happened to be a very big, action figure collecting fan of the movies always talked about us watching the original trilogy together. It never happened.

What got me to finally watch them? Netflix, and a little coaxing from my boyfriend. I always planned on watching the movies; I just needed a little push. So in the past month, we rented, through Netflix, all the Star Wars movies in order of release date. That means we watched episodes 4, 5, and 6 of Star Wars first.

Having finally seen these movies, and with the fresh eyes of a movie buff, I have compiled a list of thoughts on the movies. Warning! There will be spoilers in the remaining half of this article. If you haven’t seen any of the Star Wars movies, stop reading, and go rent them.

When I say something like ‘first three movies,’ I’m referring to episodes 4-6. Confusing, I know.

Anakin Skywalker versus Luke Skywalker

While watching the first three movies, it seemed like the series was all about Luke Skywalker. Then, when watching the last three you realize, no, Star Wars is about Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. When I realized this and looked back on episode six when Darth Vader dies, it all seemed so unimportant to me. I figure that the real star of the movies should have a much more spectacular and monumental death than he did. This leads me to question when George Lucas even knew where the story started and what it would become when he began production on the movies.

Jake Lloyd versus Hayden Christiensen

Before I watched the movies I heard a lot about how the actor who played Anakin in episode one was such so horrible. When I actually watched that movie, I couldn’t disagree more. Maybe I was expecting something horrible because of how much everyone complained, but I though Jake Lloyd did a great job. He was animated and acted just like a kid would in those circumstances. Now Hayden Christensen, who played the same character in episodes two and three, did a horrible job in comparison. Why don’t people complain about him? His parts were horribly annoying, especially in episode two when he was practically melting in front of Padme Amidala all the time.

The love of Padme and Anakin

The most annoying and unrealistic thing about any of the movies was the romance between Padme and Anakin. It was so hard to watch their scenes together. In episode two, Anakin acts like a love-sick teenager (which he may well be, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying). It seems unlikely that the sophisticated Padme would every fall for his cheesy lines. Then in episode three, once they’re married, it just never seemed realistic to me. They really didn’t work. Natalie Portman as Padme did a great job, but her romance wasn’t good.

The love of Han and Leia

It seems that George Lucas just isn’t good at writing romance. The love between Han and Leia always seemed unlikely, although it was better than Anakin and Padme’s. I totally get the whole love-hate thing; they just needed to show more of the love. I ended up thinking, ‘umm, why do they like each other again?’

The very awesome Yoda

I realized toward the end of this series how great Yoda is. It’s funny because throughout the movies you hear people talking about how they think they’re better than him (Anakin, for example), but they never are. It’s easy underestimate little Yoda, but when you get to see him in action, you realize the folly of your ways. Yoda’s fight with Chancellor Palpatine in episode three was one of the best.

My boyfriends

Okay, I’m going to turn into a giddy twenty-something girl for just a second and gush over the cute guys. I figure it’s okay because of how extensively men talk about bikinied Laia. I may be weird, but I didn’t have a thing for Han Solo, it was all about Luke Skywalker. He was so innocent and cute! Also, young Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Ewan McGregor, is very attractive. He can use his light saber on me any day.

Overdone animation

I have a background in 3D modeling and animation, so this is something that I actually have a professional opinion on. They used 3D models way too much in the last three movies. They completely modeled the clones, when they could have just created a few real costumes and duplicated them. I think it’s very wasteful and silly to model things that you can easily and cheaply do with real material. They did a great job with yoda, but they didn’t need to model half the stuff they did. They even modeled a sand dune in episode two! Couldn’t they just go find a real sand dune?

Overall opinion

You know, I liked these movies. I especially liked episodes one, five, and six. My least favorite was episode two, largely because of the painfully annoying love scenes between Anakin and Padme. Would I watch them again? Yes. Heck, the Star Wars movies might even join the other movies of legacy on my check mark Ikea shelf.

After finally seeing the Star Wars movies, I feel a little more complete. Now I don’t have to endure the shocked faces of people when I reveal that I hadn’t seen them. Now I’m just like everyone else! I just need to see the Godfather movies and I’ll finally be whole.

Movie Review: Good Morning Baby

Fortunately this movie has two things going for it: it’s only about 13 minutes long and it’s free. Other than that, the movie isn’t all that great.

The directing and cinematography were poor – what was with the scene filmed through the chain link fence? The shots were all from standard angles, made absolutely no use of light – excepting one scene in a park – and should have in fact added meaning to the story, but instead did nothing other than fill space. As an observer, I felt that no one was in control of the film, not even the main character of Gabrielle. And although I am not a film director myself, I do believe that this is the job of the director.

And what were those images supposed to mean? It would seem that the director, Lisa Leone – who also co-wrote the uninspired script – has never read a book or even watched a tv show or other movie in her life. The images – which were probably meant to be symbols – were a plastic bag blowing in the wind with the words “I ♥ New York” on it; a snow globe with the same slogan printed on it’s interior, a couple dancing on a street corner; a middle-aged man playing the trumpet to the sun setting on New York; a little girl dressed as an angel running through the park; and a white pants suit. You might add that Gabrielle had been wearing a flowered dress earlier in the film but in the final scene was wearing all white.

These may have been meant to symbolize innocence and loving the city of New York and so on and so forth, but they all just said how poorly thought out the movie was. It could have been raining when Gabrielle’s fiancée broke up with here, but the sun came out of the clouds when she met this new man. (I know that’s pretty trite imagery, but it’s a more evocative than that employed in this movie).

I apologize to the director now, though. This review is simply my opinion. Now if this were a movie that would be shown on the Lifetime cable channel or maybe during some Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation then this is a wonderful work.

I think the simplest thing for me to say from here is that there is a time and a place for everything. And the best time and place for this movie is late at night, while you’re watching tv, wearing flannel pajamas and big fuzzy slippers, with a tub of ice cream in your lap.

Review of the Movie “The Break Up”

Review of the Movie “The Break Up”

The other night, when I finished up for Christmas Eve, I decided to rent a movie on pay-per-view. I choose to watch “The Break Up’ with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. First let me describe the movie. Jennifer Aniston’s character started to feel unappreciated by her mate, Vince Vaughn’s character. And so they break up. But instead of one of them moving out of their expensive condo, they decide to wait it out to see if the other would move out. So then they end up doing awful stuff to each other so that the other would move out. But really in the end, they both really still loved each other and couldn’t get over the break up.

So, I settled down in my chair and for about the next hour and a half (which actually seemed more like a lifetime) and waited patiently through the this movie. When it ended I felt like I had just wasted the last hour and a half. I didn’t find it very funny at all. I thought with Vince Vaughn starring that it would be hilarious to watch but it wasn’t. There seemed to be so much anger in the movie that it was more painful to watch.

The side characters did add something to the movie though. The characters of Johnny O (played by Jon Favreau) and Lupus Godowsky (played by Cole Hauser) were probably the best ones, I thought. Those were the two that really stood out for me. I didn’t think Vincent D’Onofrio’s character was all that great either. I think he probably should have stayed with Law and Order.

I guess the thing I couldn’t get over that instead of going around acting childish, why didn’t one of them just move out and save themselves the pain. I just wasn’t able to get real into the movie. There was just something about it that I couldn’t really get over. I was really expecting a comedy but it seemed to end more as a drama. The only really funny parts I found was the out takes at the end and some with Vaughn doing his rantings. I always thought he was best when he went on a rant that lasted for minutes that never really end up anywhere. And I didn’t think this was Aniston’s best performance. I mean she does pretty well as the serious balancing act to Vaughn’s comedy. But I think her performance in “She’s The One” a few years ago, was her better movie. Really in the end, Aniston and Vaughn seem like they were a good match up and had good chemistry but I don’t think this movie really showed that too well. The movie just seemed more angry than funny.

The Host Movie Review

The Host Movie Review

The hype surrounding “The Host” was strong. As I said in my Descent review, I fear hype, it scares me. As I began watching “The Host” I crossed my fingers and was hoping it wasn’t an over hyped piece of crap. Well my fears of hype ruining the film quickly washed away, cause “The Host” is exactly the kind of film I wanted to see.

This is the best damn monster movie I’ve seen in years. But the movie’s strongest area isn’t its slick looking monster but its heart and soul. The Park family are so likable and believable that you them to succeed in their mission. You watch minute after minute as these people do what they to do to find a loved one and you’re glued to the screen hoping for the best. I was emotionally attached to these characters and when one of them dies, I felt it. The main reason to watch this movie for these characters. They turn what could have been a mindless monster movie into something with some heart and soul.

The acting from the entire Park family is superb. Any lesser actors would have ruined the movie.

The directing from Joon-Ho Bong is great. The angles, camera movements, all fluid and truly done by a professional.

The music is effective and memorable enough.

The monster in the film is fantastic looking. It’s all done in CGI, but don’t let that scare you because it’s the best damn CGI I have seen in awhile. The CGI makes the monster look and seem believable with its design, movements and actions. In some sense, it blew me away.

If you’re looking for a lot of gore, look elsewhere. There’s some light blood and gnarly bodies but that’s it. The movie didn’t need gore.

Any negatives? A few minutes here and there could have been trimmed to make the movie tighter. There’s also an emotional scenes towards the beginning that goes a little too over the top, I know you’re upset over what’s happened but calm down a little!

At first I was disappointed with the ending but thinking about it, it was the perfect way to the end the movie.

Looking for a monster movie with some heart and soul? See “The Host”. Ignore the hype and just find a copy as soon as you can. It’s worth it.

9/10

Borat: A Comedy Based on an Umcomfortable Parody of Jewish People

Borat: A Comedy Based on an Umcomfortable Parody of Jewish People

Hello. My name-a-Borat. Yeshgemish. Or something like that. Borat was the surprise runaway hit movie of the fall. Due, in no small part, to the clever grass roots marketing of English born and Cambridge educated Sacha Baron Cohen. Borat: the Cultural Learnings of America Make for Glorious Benefit of Nation of Kazahkstan is a whirlwind of a movie.

It chronicles Borat (Cohen), a journalist from Kazahkstan, and his fat cohort’s adventures in the United States as a kind of bawdy cultural exchange program. In the process, Borat finds his love, Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson, and he must find her in his newly purchased ice-cream truck.

Cross country trip, here he comes. But for all of the the fun and tomfoolery along the way, Cohen has been taken by a lot of people as a clever social satirist, as one who turns social and cultural conventions inside out in order to reveal the true character of a people and a nation at war.

After all, Mr. Cohen is himself a Jew, and a highly educated one at that. Surely someone of his refinement would never portray Jews as cockroaches or sing a song about throwing a Jew down a well just for the laughs? Would he? I mean c’mon. The Jews are hairy monsters, with long claws and should be target shooting practice shouldn’t they? Or should they? The fact of the matter is, no one knows what Mr. Cohen’s intentions are, or if he had any at all, other than presenting a movie to the going audience, a rather disturbing one. They simply assume an English gentleman would never stoop so low as to denigrate his own kind.

But this begs the question, if someone really wanted to parody and humiliate his own kind, would he go such depths? Why would someone portray humiliation in such a way to make us laugh? Are we simply to laugh uncomfortably and suddenly realize what wrong, we the audience, have done? There are enough Nazi movies out there to make any man puke at anti Semitism. Making an extreme comedy seems a bit much.

Then again we could be laughing about Borat for all of his backward behavior. He is the stupid one, making fun of the Jews. If so, is Mr. Cohen trying to vindicate the Jews and making Kazhakstanis look foolish?

Then there are the stupid Americans. According to the movie, Americans are a bunch of self-serving, hypocrites who overcomplicate things and can’t enjoy the simple things in life. Are we suppose to hate us?

It’s a bit confusing given that all of the humor in the movie is offensive on every level and aimed at everyone. Are we to feel uncomfortable at every scene or just some of them? Or does it really matter? After all, it is Mr. Cohen who is laughing all the way to the bank. Dirty Jew.