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Movie Review: Hellboy II The Golden Army

Hellboy II The Golden Army
Hellboy II The Golden Army

The first Hellboy movie was a good film.  It had spectacular visuals, it had a good protagonist, it had cool villians, and it told a decent story.

It wasn’t great though.  For all of the “good stuff” about it, there was something missing.  I feel this way with all of Del Toro’s movies (although Pan’s Labirynth was the closest he’s come to having a complete film).  There’s something missing, and I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it is that would take his stuff to the next level.  That’s why the French call that certain something a “je ne sais quoi”.

The same is true with this movie.  It was good, but it just wasn’t great.  It’s a case of the sum of the parts not equaling up to the whole.

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Short Review: Big Buck Bunny

This is Buck.  He's big, and he's a bunny!
This is Buck. He's big, and he's a bunny!

Big Buck Bunny is a short developed by The Blender Institute, which is part of the Blender Foundation, a non-profit organization which develops the Open Source 3D video application Blender.

From the site:

Big Buck Bunny tells the story of a giant rabbit with a heart bigger than himself. When one sunny day three rodents rudely harass him, something snaps… and the rabbit ain’t no bunny anymore! In the typical cartoon tradition he prepares the nasty rodents a comical revenge.

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Movies and TV

HDDVD Review: Stardust

Stardust Movie PosterStardust is a movie based on the graphic novel by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess, it’s in the vein of The Princess Bride, The Witches, and Willow.

At its heart, Stardust is a cute movie with a good heart, and sometimes that’s all you can ask for in a film.

The tale of a young man who crosses a forbidden wall and finds himself in a land of adventure where he meets a fallen star, recognizes true love, has daring battles, and becomes a better person because of it.

It’s not exactly kid’s stuff, there’s a lot of violence in the flick, and it’s pretty intense, but no more so I’d say than The Princess Bride.

The HD DVD transfer is beautiful, and you can really see the sharpness that makes high definition discs such an attraction.

The best part about this movie is that I picked it up from Blockbuster on their HD-DVD movie sale as part of the 3 for $24.00 promotion (along with Transformers and Beowulf…reviews coming soon).

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Movies and TV

Movie Review: The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is blowing up records in a Joker-like orgy of box office destruction, and with good reason. It’s good. Damn good. The performances are once again note perfect, the characters are nuanced and deep, and there are easter eggs abound for comic geeks (not the least of which is the first Watchmen trailer).

The Dark Knight has been getting rave reviews since the first preview screenings a few weeks ago, and people are already murmuring “Oscar” for Heath Ledger, but could it possibly be that good?  Rotten Tomatoes is currently ranking it 94% fresh with 186 reviews!  That sounds pretty promising.

I picked up my tickets on Monday this week, opting for the 10:30 showing.  It was a good thing too, because when we got to the theatre at 9:15, there were signs announcing that all Friday showings of the Dark Knight were completely sold out.

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Movies and TV

Movie Review Double Feature: Wall-E and Wanted

Wanted and Wall-ELast week was a big two movie week for me, I snuck out and saw Wanted by myself, and we took Kaylin to see Wall-E, which I believe based on her constant talk about Wall-E since, is her all time favourite movie.

Wanted currently holds the title of second best comic movie (after Iron Man) of the summer, and Wall-E holds the title of best movie of the summer (and second best Pixar movie of all time) for me personally.

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Movies and TV

Movie Review: The Incredible Hulk

Edward Norton is The Incredible HulkChar and I went out to see the Incredible Hulk on Monday night, and while it’s definitely a better overall movie than the first film version of the Hulk was, this was still a fairly weak comic book adaptation.

Hulk is a pretty easy concept to get right, and the whole “man on the run” part of the story was done perfectly. What didn’t work as much was the Jeckyl and Hyde aspects of the story.

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Movies and TV

Movie Review: Southland Tales

Southland Tales the movie posterDonnie Darko is one of my top ten favourite films of all time. Director Richard Kelly managed to tell a story that had several layers, plenty of intrigue, and just enough science to make the fiction believable. His director’s cut was a little ham fisted, with unnecessary exposition and extra bloat that makes it weaker than the original, but the flick stands up as a great ride. Donnie Darko also stands out as one of the first movies that had a web site which really built upon the movie and created a backstory which made the movie better, which may have just been a product of the particular moment in time that gave us the Blair Witch Project, and Center of the Earth (which had one of the most amazing Flash applications I’ve ever seen).

Unfortunately Kelly’s sophomore effort, Southland Tales, doesn’t fare nearly as well as his debut.

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Movies and TV

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullGeorge Lucas once again proves how lucky he was with the first three Star Wars movies, and Steven Spielberg proves how bi-polar he is with their latest collaboration Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

George Lucas was the man who once upon a time brought us American Graffiti. Steven Spielberg is the same man who brought us Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. These are two guys who between them know how to tell a story. They know how to create relationships, they know how to craft a good story, they know how to harness the spirit of the Saturday matinée adventure film, and most importantly, they know how to get across the idea of peril.

So why does the latest installment of Indiana Jones have none of these?

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Movies and TV

Movie Review: Iron Man

Iron ManIron Man, he’s a B level comic book super-hero.  He’s best known for being one of the founding Avengers, being rich beyond most people’s dreams, and for a groundbreaking storyline where he battled alchoholism.

John Favreau has never done an action movie before.  He’s the guy who brought us Swingers (which he wrote, but didn’t direct), Made, Elf, and Zarutha.

However, the cast was A level all the way.  Robert Downey Jr. seems made to play a guy who is battling demons even while he’s having the time of his life.  Gwenyth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Terrance Howard were brilliant choices.

The trailers showed that Favreau “got it”, and that the entire cast was spot on perfect, and the music.  Good grief, how could you do a movie trailer for Iron Man where you didn’t use Black Sabbath’s tune?

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Movies and TV

Movie Review: There Will Be Blood

There Will Be BloodSpoiler Alert right away. There Will Be Blood is a misleading title. From the title you expect blood in droves, buckets of blood, blood so deep that men are treading water just to stay afloat. There IS blood in There Will Be Blood, but not the vast quantities that I expected.

What there is aplenty is an underlying tension, a violence that’s palpable, and always threatening to bubble to the surface. The oil that gushes from the wells with force is a metaphor for the violence which is always under the surface.