Friday, July 19, 2013

White House Down Review

Wait... didn't this same movie come out already this year?

Well the movie is called White House Down...what more can you say really? With a title like that and following the premise of terrorists taking over the White House, you go into the theater already knowing you've handed over good cash for a stupid movie. The real question now is is it the kind of stupid movie you can enjoy? The easy answer? Yup!
extend this trailer for 2 hours and you've got the whole movie

So our real hero here is not the President, nope, we get Channing Tatum as Cale, a recently returned home war hero who is trying to impress his estranged politically fascinated daughter Emily - played by Joey King by applying for protection detail for President Obama-er I mean Sawyer, President Saw-yer(not Obama) played with dorky wonderfulness by Jamie Foxx. After a disastrous interview with his would be superior played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, right wing terrorists take the White House separating Cale from his daughter. Pretty much at this point, basically take the first 30 pages of the Die Hard screenplay, add some 21st century political messages and themes and you basically have the same movie only hysterically worse in all the best ways. They climb elevator shafts, dumb waiter shafts, there is a tech guy, there is the mastermind who can't control the minion that wants revenge since his friend died at the hands of our hero. Also there is a car chase on the White House lawn with machine guns and rocket launchers!

Directed by Roland Emmerich, the man responsible for such classics as 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla and Independence Day brings us this 2 hour farce. This is classic Emmerich in every way, trite paper-thin characters, uber patriotic imagery, with ridiculous action sequences pulled off with cheesy CGI effects. All of his best and worst tools are on display here in spades. If this is his lead up to Independence Day 2 then color me excited! This movie was so bad in all the right ways you can't help but get into it. It helps when the cast and crew are in on the joke. Everything is spelled out fairly quickly so if you're paying attention then you won't have any trouble staying about 20 minutes ahead of this thing. Which leads me to another point...

The politics of the movie, after someone told me of the plot - before today I hadn't seen a single trailer, just heard about it - it would be easy for people to take the plot measures of political extremists backed by evil corporations taking over the White House a little too seriously. Truly though, this movie is so low brow and inconsequential that to think this thing actually has any kind of real message is giving it far, far too much credit beyond what it is - entertainment. Sure it would be simple to make the bad guys Russians, Arabs, or Asians - but honestly I think that would have actually required the filmmakers to you know, do some work! The bad guys are paper thin cutouts and really shouldn't be looked into too deeply. If you leave this movie angry at its brand of "politics" then to be quite frank - you've got your political watch wound way to tight to keep accurate time. This movie is Dumb. Fun, but DUMB. Plain and simple.

You know where this movie is going even before a foreshadow or a plot point is presented. It's good dumb summer fun. It's loud, has tons of action with super cheesy effects and its never a dull moment. The cast is top notch, playing their roles with gusto. Tatum is doing a fine job grooming himself for future action roles, I do hope for his sake he lands something a little more genuinely serious and good. Foxx is fun playing a nerdy president, and it was quite a hoot seeing Maggie Gyllenhaal in this one since her brother was the star of The Day After Tomorrow! All in all this wasn't a half bad way to spend an afternoon. When this goofball gets rolling it's hard not to just put your feet up, tilt your head back and enjoy the ride.

In the End: 5/10 It is One Hundred Percent S T U P I D in all the best ways!

Friday 7/19

Yup... another day, another year older!

Yes, yes, today is my Birthday. Wooo! And it's on a Friday! Double Wooo! But you know, oddly enough, I don't feel any older. It was weird my wife kept asking me throughout the week what I wanted to do on my birthday... and all I could do was shrug my shoulders. Without her reminding me, I think I would have forgotten all about it! Still though I do have one ritual that has gone on since way way back in the long long ago - go to the movies! Ever since I was like 4 years old and my mom and her friends would go to the Ann Arbor Art Fair on my birthday, I got to either go to a movie or pick any movie I wanted at the video store. Ever since it's stuck with me. Since there are new releases today, my choices fall between The Conjuring - which looks awesome, and RIPD - aside from Jeff Bridges looks like poo. You'd think the obvious choice would be to go see The Conjuring, it's a horror movie and actually has a fresh tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes - but you would be wrong.

When you consider that such cinematic gems as Halloween: Resurrection and Reign of Fire and numerous other bad movies were seen on this day of celebration... I am almost obligated to go see something quite craptacularly awesome.


Before I get to the main event of this post I have to remind you all that Comic Con is in full swing. Sure there are panels and there is a teaser of Electro in Amazing Spider-Man 2, and the cast of The X-Files wants to do a third movie - but there is something even more important that that - TOYS!

Yes, thanks to the good folks at Collider - we get our first images of the classic 60's Adam West and Burt Ward Batman and Robin 6th scale figures from Hot Toys! Enjoy the Beauty!

Look at them! Look at them! They have extra hands! Bombs, Bat-cuffs! And a canister of Shark Repellant Bat-Spray! 

Look at the detailing! :) Batterrangs!

You see those hands with the two extended fingers? Yeah... that's right... you can do the Batusi!

I don't think life can get much better than that! Also worth an honorable mention:

 It looks like Sideshow is in full swing with their DC license. That Superman aint half bad, Catwoman and Harley Quin look pretty nice, but it's the Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns Batman in the lower left that's got my interest! It's really really hard to be a nerd. Every year they make more stuff to buy that I can't afford! - bastards.

The Main Event!

Okay the moment you've all been waiting for: My latest AMAZING Epic Trailer! E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial! Now before I give this great prize to you, a little bit of context is needed. E.T. just so happens to be the very first movie I ever saw at the theater! No kidding! Really! I was hardly 6 weeks old-ish when my parents took my older sister to see the movie and I was along for the ride. But that's not all - the theater in my state of infancy made my parents PAY for a ticket for me! Not wanting to disappoint my sister, they obliged - we still have the ticket stub! Since I turn 31 today, I thought it was only fitting to give my first movie its very own Epic Trailer! Enjoy!

That's all I have for you this week, I'll be back on Monday with a new regular post as well as maybe 1 or 2 movie reviews! And with that, remember Dear Readers if it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down. If it's all the colors of the rainbow - go to a doctor because you might have eaten a leprechaun!  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thursday 7/18

One more day before my birthday!
Because I am getting older, I've started looking back at things, being all introspective and deep while I chart the course of events that led me to this point in my life. If I had to find one word that would define me it would be story. From books, to comic books, to movies, TV shows and plays I love a good story. If I'm not consuming one, I am creating one. I am at my happiest when I get lost in the moment with the only sounds I hear are my fingertips tap, tap, tapping away at my keyboard as my eyes watch the number of words I have written steadily grow letter by letter. It's a thrilling feeling few people understand. Not enough people create. Not enough people write.

A Writer Writes

  What is a writer? Some people think a writer is somebody who sits there and makes things up all day long. This is partly true, a writer does make up things all day long - they may sit at a desk, a coffee shop, a park bench, the back seat of their car, or even lock themselves in their dark closet. Writing may seem like an easy job to some, anyone that thinks that or says it openly probably hasn't done much of it outside of school. Certainly they haven't done much of any creative writing. Creative being the optimum word here.
  Creativity comes from a weird place. One must shut off their brain, shut down all of their peripheral senses and face a black sheet of paper, or a white empty word processor page. You have to stair down that blinking slash and wait for your fingers to start moving. Once they've started to move you have to do everything you can to ensure they keep moving lest you lose your train of thought or get distracted and stop. You dare not stop. Ever.

Writer Thou Art God.

  To think of creative writing as a simple process would be a callous assessment. Would you consider the work a pro athlete does on the field, court, or the back breaking pressure an Olympian faces as easy? Writers are Olympians of the written word. We command each letter to form a structure of words and sentences and paragraphs like an artist wields a pant brush on an empty canvas. The pressures faced by the creative process carries no less than the same weight as an athlete. 
  There is a pressure, an internal struggle of the mind that everyone that is a creative has to overcome. Each of us are given a voice that sounds an alarm to protect ourselves from danger or discomfort. Every time an athlete takes to the mound, or an artist looks at that first stroke of the brush - so to does a writer stair down each and every word of that opening sentence. We have to tell that voice in our heads it has no place, it does not belong here. We have to yell, kick, and scream to silence that thunder in our heads that tells us we are no good and the words we have written are complete shit.
  A writer has an obligation. No matter what the subject matter may be, a piece of fiction or a technical manual - we must meet the demands of an audience. An audience few of us ever are fortunate enough to meet in person. We have to create a scenario that is gripping and interesting for our reader. We must establish characters that are relatable to a desired audience while still being in service to the story. As such, a writer is a god. God's create worlds, places, things, creatures, people - all of them must serve a purpose to the greater story at hand. If they're not the main character, then they need to impact that character in such a way that advances the story. This is no easy task. Being God, if even for only a hundred, two hundred, or even a thousand pages is a weight that is hard to lift on one's shoulders.
  We pull inspiration from random sources we encounter, a piece of music, a favorite movie, a picture, a car driving down a street, or the chance eavesdropping on a stranger's conversation. We take these elements and attempt to wrap a story around them. Sometimes it's complete and utter crap. Sometimes it's the most thrilling and exciting thing anyone has ever conceived! But we wont know whether our moment of inspiration is a work of genius or a turd until we take pen to paper and get it out out of our heads. It's easy to spot a writer in this way. If you're ever walking the streets of your local town or city, and you see a man or woman standing in the middle of a busy sidewalk frantically jotting something down into a small notebook or a scrap of paper while looking at something that is seemingly unimportant or of no consequence to you, that person is a writer. And that thing their looking at is their entire world at that moment. 

Why Do We Do It?

  Many people that are not writers or a creative individual assume that someone that writes a novel, a screenplay or even maintains a blog is simply in it for the money. In part, this is true. Money is nice, and the relative few of us successful enough to crack the secrete code and become known and respected writers with a following audience will tell you that the money does help make the venture worth it. But that's not why we do it. We do  it, because we must. Not as if it is an obligation that is designed to save the world or anything that heavy, no, we do it because we have to. It's in our blood, a part of our DNA. We have to write. We have to create something at all times. If we don't, if some outside source impedes our ability to function in this fashion, we steadily go insane.
  This is why every day I assemble this blog. Sure I want to entertain some folks, and yeah there is a part of me that desires this thing to truly take off, garnering enough ad revenue that I don't have to go back to a regular day job - but even now, as I try to find work to pay the bills and expand my toy and movie collection, I write these words because I must. I have to write the thoughts and weird ideas down onto paper or in a text document. Whether it's a joke, or an idea for a story, or just a concept that sounds interesting I have to jot it down so I don't forget it. Whether it's for a blog post, a screenplay, or a novel, I have to get it down. I have to let it out before it consumes me. 
  I have been successful in many ventures. I could be quite rich right now if I had stuck with any one of them. I'm sure of that as I am sure the sun rises in the east, but I didn't love what I was doing. I am a writer. I love creating, I love finding the right words to use. I love giving characters a unique voice that makes them resonate in a story and to an audience. Ever since I was a small child I was a writer. My doodles were actually picture stories I had drawn. I didn't command the written word yet so I used pictures to tell the story. And when the story kept going, I would simply tape together another sheet of paper and continue drawing it out.
  As I get one day closer to turning 31, I look back at the moments and events in my life that influenced my decisions, and how I got to where I am today. I may be unemployed at the moment, but I feel more successful now than I ever have before. I write thousands of words every day, whether for this blog or for my novel. I am constantly dreaming up new scenarios, stories, characters, or events that I want to use in my current novel or another project later down the line. This blog has been a huge part of that. Sharing my work with others, getting feedback and positive reinforcement is like an injection of coffee direct into my blood! It excites me knowing that as of this writing this blog has gotten over 4000 page views in hardly six weeks! At the rate I'm going it'll be no time at all before I'm averaging 500 to 1000 views a day and I'll look back at this post with fond whimsical memories. It's important to acknowledge where you're at and how far you've come towards achieving your goals. Every day, with every push of the "publish" button - I take one step closer towards achieving that dream. And you dear readers, are a big part of that. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for reading and encouraging me with the clicks of your mouse buttons to keep going.

And with that, remember Dear Readers if you wake up and can't find your underwear, take a look around and double check you're actually in your own home. You don't want to go out into the world wearing another man's uniform, so to speak.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Whoa! Wha Happa???

What the Fudge?!?

Don't worry your pretty little heads none dear readers - I just did some house cleaning! Decided since there is no way to keep my extra pages a regular thing without sacrificing serious time from job hunting and novel writing - I decided to condense them all into one big SUPER BLOG!

I'll still be doing special features from time to time, and I'll keep on with the movie reviews, but this way I also can review regular DVD's and Blu-rays - not just the 3D discs.

Plus this also helps me optimize my AdSense results by not having them spread out over half a dozen pages. Now you get all the super awesome content you've come to expect in one condensed package. The Matted Screen is now just like Orange Juice - It Comes in Concentrate! Oy that was a bad joke. Anyway - enjoy my old posts from my other pages and enjoy the rest of your Wednesday. See you again tomorrow!

Monsters Inc. 3D Blu-Ray Review

Monsters Inc. 3D
reposted from Into The 3rd Dimension

The Review:

Monsters Inc. just so happens to be the very first Pixar film I caught in theaters. I was at that age where animated movies were on the out and like the jaded teenager that I was, I purposely avoided Toy Story 1 and 2. Boy was that a mistake. The first thing that grabbed me about the movie is the opening credit sequence. It so heavily reminded me of the begging to a 1960's Blake Edwards comedy that it instantly put a smile on my face. And it still does today.

This wild and crazy romp features two best friends Mike and Sully, voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman respectively. Together they work the Scare Floor of Monsters Inc. collecting scream to power their world. They have a link to the human world through doors that lead to a specific child's closet. The monster goes in, the scream comes out. And like a factory, the process repeats until the day is done. Scream is in short supply as children in the Human World just aren't getting scared anymore.

A serious problem arises when Sully accidentally lets a child from the human world loose in the Monster World. Together Sully and Mike must get the child back to her world without getting caught. Children are supposedly toxic, so anything they touch toys, clothing, even Monsters, can become contaminated. All of this plays to hilarious results as our heroes dig themselves into deeper trouble while attempting to snarl, claw, and roar their way out. While a movie that is made for kids, the team at Pixar was smart enough to drop enough B horror movie references to keep the adults entertained. You can't help but be impressed with the level of creative detail they put into this movie. Every aspect of the story is so thoroughly thought out that to this day it stands as my favorite Pixar release with The Incredibles sitting in a very close second.

The 3rd Dimension:

You have to hand it to Disney, they know how to release exceptional 3D Blu-ray sets. The picture quality is striking, the level of detail is incredible, right down to being able to count the numerous individual hairs on Sully's gigantic blue body. Best of all, this detail and clarity shines though beautifully in 3D. This is a colorful movie and a common complaint with 3D is that the glasses you have to wear darkens the picture. Disney smartly brightens the picture so wearing the glasses will have no true impact on the bright beautiful colors that permeate this movie. The 3D itself is fairly good for a conversion of a film that wasn't generated for 3D. Every so often some scenes have a slight "cookie cutter" effect and seem kind of flat. But for the scenes that count, the scare floor, Harryhoausen's Restaurant, and the conveyor chase with the closet doors in particular are so deep and wonderful, you feel like you're riding a roller coaster.

The Extras Dimension:

Well it's Disney, there are TONS of extras! In addition to a 3D Blu-ray, you get a standard 2D blu-ray, a DVD and a digital copy of the movie!There are also so many extensive extra features about the making of the movie, the design of the monsters, interviews with the voice cast and the creative minds behind the show, you're going to need hours and hours of time to get through it all! 

The End Result:

Well is it worth the upgrade? I certainly think so. If you already have the first 2D release, you could do fine to stick with that, but I feel that the 3D conversion is well worth the upgrade. And since Disney movies on disc are like gold nuggets, if you have a Hastings, or some other store that buys and sells used movies, you should get a pretty fair price for a trade in. If you don't own it at all, then this is the set to go for and well worth the nearly $30 price tag. Shop around, you might find a better deal than Amazon or Best Buy someplace, but since it's a Disney release, you're not likely to locate a significant price reduction without winning an auction on ebay or finding a used copy. However you manage to add this one to your collection, you'll be glad to have it when you need something that is pure fun.

Titanic 3D Blu-ray Review

Titanic 3D
reposted from Into The Third Dimension

The Review:
  Can you really believe that it has been 15 years since this film came out? Kind of blew me away to realize that was half my lifetime ago. I remember enjoying the film on the big screen when I first saw it. It was spectacle of the grandest order, the likes of which Hollywood hadn't attempted since the days of David Lean. At the time it was a mammoth production, months of filming, a 2/3 scale recreation of the ship, at a projected budget cost of over $200million. Today that kind of budget is common place and is actually more surprising if a movie doesn't cost hundreds of millions of dollars to produce. In 1997 it was a sum too large to comprehend until the first shots of the titular ship lit up the screen. It was nearly impossible not to get caught up in the magic of the moment. Sure the script is a bit stale at times, but the show is incredible to look at. Sadly when this Oscar winning phenom got scaled down to VHS it lost all sense of wonder and amazement. Something about a 15 inch screen just couldn't encapsulate the grandeur of the moment. So with repeated viewings the joy of the film faded into parody.
    Now, after 15 years and numerous film restoration techniques and 3D conversion technological improvements it's back. Starting with a highly successful re-release in theaters, we are now blessed with the exploits of Jack and Rose on 3D Blu-Ray. I'll avoid going into all the details of the story, after all this is the second highest grossing movie of all time, bested only by another James Cameron film, Avatar. If you haven't seen it by now... what the heck is wrong? Go rent it already! Even if you end up hating the movie, its one to be seen so you know what you're talking about when ripping the movie to shreds. How does the story hold up 15 years later? Well now that it's allowed to live on larger home screens, it holds up extremely well compared to fog covered blur of VHS. By getting to experience the size and scope on a comparable screen you forget the small script gripes and somewhat trite dialog. My one complaint that rings out like a dinner bell are the numerous "time period" references such as saying Pablo Picasso will never amount to anything or musings on Freud when talking about the "size" of the ship. I could do without those scenes on the sole basis that it makes the movie sound like it's trying way to hard to be clever.  When it's all said and done, this is a tragic love story and I have to admit to getting caught up in it all over again. And the sinking ship has never been more exciting. Only the most jaded will watch this movie and search out things to hate on it for. So if you actually enjoy this movie, make sure you're watching it with like-minded viewers.

The Third Dimension:

I got to see this film in 3D in theaters and I have to say with great pleasure it transfers wonderfully. One of the best improvements with time has been the HD revolution to hit home theaters. Home screens are larger and clearer, and are capable of showing off the intricate details of this film as you've never seen them before. Thanks in part to a brand spanking new 4K digital restoration, the 3D conversion is rock solid. Re-framed to fit a full 1.78:1 screen from the original 2.35:1, the clarity and depth comes through in great form. This new aspect ratio and 3D conversion was supervised by Cameron himself over the course of several months. In short, all of the blood and sweat that went into this presentation shows through beautifully. Depth is fantastic and you can really feel the sense of scale of the production. There are a few anomalies from time to time, namely if there is an object or a person in the foreground occupying the outer edges, some ghosting does occur. These instances are brief and barely noticeable if you're keeping your eyes focused in the center of the screen where they should be. This is a movie built for 3D before it was available. Now that conversion technology has improved, this film almost looks as if it was shot originally in 3D. And since the 194 minute movie is split over 2 discs, the picture never suffers and if you want to show off your 3D set to guests, skip to the second disc where the ship just starts to sink!

The Extras Dimension

Well, where to begin? In addition to the 3D presentation, you get a 2D version of the film with 3 commentary tracks. I always encourage any and every James Cameron commentary track. He offers fascinating insight that explains things without ever getting boring. I almost wish the commentary track had been included on the 3D edition if only to learn more about the process of converting the film and the tricks that were used. After the commentaries, you get a fourth disc that is nothing but extras including 30 deleted scenes! How there was that much to take out is pretty incredible but they do provide some texture to the film and are actually worth watching.

The End Result

Here you have a 3D Blu-Ray that is worth every cent. And at a scant $20 at Best Buy and on Amazon, this is an easy purchase if you enjoy the movie and love 3D.  If you ever have any worry about what an older movie post converted to 3D could look like, give this one a spin and put those worries to rest. This was no rush job to capitalize on a gimmick, it was a painstaking effort on the part of the filmmakers and it shows. Whether you're a fan, or if you need a disc to show off your 3D set, pick this one up, you wont regret it.

Dredd 3D Blu-ray Review

Dredd 3D

The Review:

What to know about this movie up front:
1: It is not, I repeat NOT a sequel or in any way related to that fairly bad to awful Stallone movie that can really only be enjoyed if you're a kid or just need a movie to do shots with(seriously, take a shot every time he yells out "I am the law" or any variation.)
2: It is a low budget sci-fi(I refuse to acknowledge "syfy" as proper spelling) in the best ways. This means while yes it was done on the cheep, it exudes imaginative visuals, beautifully glorious violence, and a sense of scale that even the largest budgeted movies can't master.
3:Yes it was natively shot in 3D so it has an incredible sense of depth for cramped set pieces.

   I'll say up front that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Top to bottom. Sure there are some things you could nitpick, but taken against the greater whole this is one of the BEST comic movie adaptations out there. Set hundreds of years in the future, the world is in chaos. Hundreds of millions of people are living in the squalor of the Mega Cities. Enforcing the law are the Judges. They are judge, jury, and executioner all in one individual. Karl Urban plays our titular hero with a outstanding sense of strength, authority, and subtle humor that any fan of the 2000 A.D. comic series would demand. At his side is Olivia Thirlby as the psychic Judge rookie Anderson on her first day on the job. Olivia brings a sense of innocence to the proceedings that is a welcome respite to the desolate future this film takes place. Together they must take down a former prostitute turned master gang leader called Ma-Ma who has become the manufacturer and distributor of a lethal and addictive narcotic called Slo-Mo. This new drug of choice makes the user perceive time at one percent normal. You might argue that this was used as an excuse to get showy on a small budget, but it is striking imagery lends an odd sense of beauty to the scenes with viscus gore and violence.

   Throughout, this movie plays like a futuristic re-imaging of Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo(one of my absolute favorite movies). You have two agents of the law, trapped in a confined space who must face the greater evil head on or die. They can't wait for help, they have to fight their way out. Set in a "Mega-Block" a 200 story super building that is home to thousands of people; like a giant series of housing projects built high into the sky. Ma-Ma has put a price on the heads of Dredd and Anderson and together they have to do everything they can to survive. It's this simple plot and premise that makes for some of the best action sequences as well as some truly striking 3D visuals. The story isn't over thought and like a GOOD action movie doesn't need to be clever to be effective.

   There isn't a whole lot more of the story to review or potentially spoil. For what the filmmakers had to work with, the production design is fantastic. It is a fairly straight forward movie without much in the way of narrative surprises. That said, the striking visuals, clean story telling, and fantastic performances make this one worth watching and owning, that is of course if you have a strong stomach for beautifully shot near relentless violence. Definitely an adults only release, not in the least bit kid friendly. Due to its initial theatrical reception, the prospect of a sequel was as bleak as the future in this movie. Thankfully it has found an audience and a movement of fans is growing pushing for a second outing. If you want to do your part, join up on facebook here:

The Third Dimension

  Natively shot in 3D; this is an absolutely gorgeous transfer for this blu-ray release. Detail is sharp and clear, little to no digital noise, and since it wasn't a film-to-digital transfer, there isn't any digital noise reduction or smoothing applied that I could see. Even in the cramped spaces with numerous close up shots of the actors' faces, there is always a fantastic sense of depth without the eye gouging effects of things popping out at you. Like any good 3D presentation it turns your TV set into a window looking in to a new world. The real highlight of this movie are the SLO-MO sequences. To achieve the level of clarity they needed, the filmmakers developed a new camera rig capable of shooting at 1000 frames per second. To the laymen your average film is shot and projected at 24 frames per second. The result here is beautiful, you feel like you could reach out and touch the movie. If you're not 3D inclined, the 2D presentation is on the same disc and equally spectacular, only not in 3D and therefor not nearly as fun!

The Extras Dimension

   In addition to the 2D version mentioned above, the extras here are sadly fairly paltry. A smattering of behind the scenes featuretts offer some incite but little depth(pardon the pun) to this 3D movie. A commentary track would have been fantastic, considering when you watch the featuretts, you can see the cast and crew are just wanting to shout to the rafters about how they did certain scenes, how much work they put into it. You can tell this was a passion project for those involved. Maybe a doubledip will come along? Probably... but with the extras we want to see and hear? Probably not. Still though, you can get this one fairly cheep on Amazon and it is worth EVERY penny.

The End Result

   Due in part to a lackluster marketing effort that even good reviews couldn't bolster, this movie came and went from theaters without even earning back half of it's production budget. But thankfully to outstanding word of mouth, this movie has sold and rented well on DVD and Blu-ray becoming an underground hit. Hopefully this is enough to convince the powers that be to green light a nicely budgeted and deserving sequel! If you have a 3D set and need a fun if slightly grisly action movie, you won't get much better than DREDD. 

Here's the link to Amazon to make your purchase if you're so inclined.



Superman Returns Remembered

reposted from Movie Kid Memories
 Superman Returns
This one had so much potential...

Superman Returns. After nearly 20 years of waiting with numerous false starts and with Director Brian Singer at the helm, we are given a movie featuring superman doing...we...not a whole hell of a lot. My first screening of this movie was at a big AMC theater in Chicago opening night midnight show. It was pretty to look at, I couldn't hear a damn thing because the sound was shot, we could hear the ear rattling base tones fine, but dialog, woof, that was a torturous experience to understand even a fraction of what was being said. I left that theater feeling more than a little let down. Sure there was a lot of fan service and iconic imagery, but there was little else to work with here. I was hoping that it was the lousy projection, but I feared it was the story that didn't meet up to my expectations.
Earlier that year, I had preorded tickets to see it on IMAX at Chicago's Navy Pier. What made this screening so special was that not only was it one of the first movies to clock in over 2 hours to screen at IMAX, it also had several scenes post converted into 3D back when that was a gimmick and not the norm as it is today. I was blown away! That 60x80 foot screen brought the movie to LIFE. and best of all I COULD HEAR IT! And then there was the 3D. I totally loved it! While it didn't work all the time, the corn field run looked choppy, but when he saved the plane, WHOA! That was damn impressive stuff. While the giant IMAX screen and the 3D helped the presentation, it didn't completely distract me from the numerous story faults.
Hot off the success of the first two X-Men movies, Brian Singer had a lot of clout to burn and he pretty much used it all to bring comic fans this movie. It seemed like a smart idea at the time; pick things up after the events of Superman II and pretend that Superman III and IV never happened! Cool right? Well... eh... To start things off he needed to recast EVERY character since no one was going be able to reprise roles from 20 years ago. Taking over the super-tights this outing was relative newcomer Brandon Routh, he does an commendable job with the script he has to work with and certainly looks the part of Superman and Clark Kent, but since he was basically hired to impersonate Chris Reeve, he never is really given the opportunity to make the role his own. Kevin Spacey was a great choice for Lex Luthor, but like Routh, he isn't given much more to do than repeat the plot of Superman: The Movie. He never got to show off the menace he showed so amazingly in Se7en. After hiring Skeletor as the new Perry White, we are left with Kate Bosworth as the new Lois Lane. I'll give her credit for trying, I guess, but rather than being the spunky, intrepid upstart, she plays it like she's constantly irritated and therefor is irritating herself.
It's just such a MOPEY movie. It want's the audience to feel nostalgic for the Superman movies of yore, but it is so preoccupied with turning our hero in a love lorn tearjerker, it's really hard to drum up any true excitement. The action sequences are few and far between and when they are on screen, they're not all that much to write home about. He flies fast, he uses his laser beam eyes, saves a plane, and lifts a gigantic non threatening kryptonite continent out of the ocean and hurls it out into space. That all sounds like it should be exciting... but... it's not. Aside from the plane grab there are no really truly thrilling moments. The screenplay just makes use of too many conveniences, not to mention being ankled by having to pay homage to what's come before. Not to mention the Superkid, who actually does more "fighting" than Suuperman!  I'll give it credit for having a bit more subtle and clever sense of humor. After Superman III and IV, it's a nice change of pace to see the big guy not make a complete fool of himself.
What's worse for this movie, perhaps more than any of the other movies, is the number of scenes that got left on the cutting room floor. With a little(or a lot) of re-editing it could have been a lot more interesting!

Apparently there are a LOT more scenes, including an entire explanation why Kal Pen is even in the movie at all. But unless Warner Bros wants to do ANOTHER blu-ray set of these movies, we'll probably never get to see this movie in any kind of Director's Cut form... but then again, that's what everyone said about Superman II.

While this movie wasn't a total flop, it earned back its budget, it wasn't the huge success it needed to be to warrant a sequel to this pseudo-sequel. In spite of all their best efforts this fairly decent cast was scattered to the four winds. Routh is still out there popping up in such greats as Scott Pilgrim, Bosworth is still working here and there,  Spacey is on Netflix, Langella got to play Nixon, and Brian Singer is back to his roots bringing us next year's X-Men Days of Future Past.

With that,  this little Retrospective comes to a close. As I've stated many times, I love Superman, always have, probably always will. I only hope the movies get better over the years as comic book movies have earned a lot more respect. I know, I know, that didn't help The Green Lantern, but fingers crossed it does right by Kal-El. Thanks for reading! I'll be adding to this page from time to time, there are so many movies I have loved for decades that I have a lot of material to chose from! See you then!