Archive for the '5' Category

Jurassic Park IMAX 3D

Friday, April 5th, 2013

*****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (2 People gave this 5.00 out of 5)
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“Life, uh, . . . finds a way.”

Jurassic Park IMAX 3D

Swift shot:  In 1993 I hiked with a fellow jarhead for four miles to watch this in theaters.  I wasn’t disappointed then, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed this time . . . in IMAX 3D!  Even though I have seen the film probably 15 more times since 1993, I was really excited to see it again in theaters.  I must admit though, I forgot how many butts are squarely in your face in Jurassic Park.  See if you can count them all.  It gives a whole new meaning to Samuel Jackson’s famous line, “Hold onto your butts!”

Violence introduces us to an island near Costa Rica that appears to be handling some dangerous predator as it is transferred from one cage to another larger holding area.  Things don’t go smoothly though, and from the opening shot we are already down one homosapien.  Dinosaurs 1, humans . . . nada.

From there we are immediately launched to the dusty badlands of Montana where a “dig” is revealing some pretty amazing dino-bones.  Brushes swish with excitement as Sam Neill and Laura Dern appear on the screen for the first time as Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ellie Sattler respectively.  They are an item, and it is quickly established that Dr. Grant doesn’t like children very much.  This is a running bit throughout the movie, and truthfully it never gets old.

Grant explains to his students that all the dinosaurs didn’t become extinct . . . they became birds. [Swift aside, I had a high school teacher who said the same thing, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t think she was nuts then, and after Jurassic Park I thought she was even a freakin’ genius]  I’m not going to attempt to argue the ultimate fate of the dinosaurs here, but it is certainly a theory with . . . wings.   Sorry, I had to.

Grant and Sattler are quickly interrupted from their lesson-plan when a chopper lands in the middle of their dig.  They make their way to a standing trailer where an old Scottish man is already opening a bottle of Moet, wearing white from head to toe, he perfectly contrasts the dusty dig site.  He is presumptuous, but as he makes no bones about his presence fairly quickly, the dig is being financed by him, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough).  Eventually he gets to why he came and makes Alan and Ellie an offer they can’t refuse . . . if they want more dig funding.  He doesn’t do it in a harsh manner, more like an extended favor that is owed to him.

In the chopper to this new adventure, the diggers make the acquaintance of Hammond’s investor’s lawyer, Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) and a Chaostician, Dr. Ian Malcolm, played by the quirkiest actor to ever exist and bring cool and quirky into the same wheel house, Jeff Goldblum.  To put it simply, Goldblum OWNS in Jurassic Park.  He has the best one-liners in decades, and his delivery . . . is . . . priceless.  He does the pauses like no other actor before or since.  He’s my favorite character in the film, easily.  Although Hammond remarks at least once in the film, “I really hate that man.”  I wish I were better at math, because I want to be a Chaostician, just because it sounds awesome!

Just as they land, in 3D, a giant butt is in your face as the guy is opening the chopper door and that leads to the famous line, “Welcome to Jurassic Park!”  See, there are butts like that throughout, but, the butts don’t really detract from anything.  You’ll just chuckle at how many there are.  Now on the island, the motley crew of scientists, a lawyer, and their host, the eccentric billionaire all head to the visitor’s center.  On their drive though, they see a living, breathing brachiosaurus.  The event literally hobbles Grant.  After that, his mind is continually blown around every corner.

Earlier we were introduced to Nedry, a not-so-subtle anagram for Nerdy, perhaps?  Nedry is played by “Hey, it’s Newman” as one blue-hair behind me shouted out in my screening.  Wayne Knight must have the best agent, because just about every film he’s been in has been a great film for one reason or another.  JFK, Basic Instinct, Toy Story 2. Jurassic Park . . . the list goes on.  His comedic-villain, Nedry is somehow the most believable, yet impatient, bad-guy in movie history.  The whole film I was like, “Damn, if Nedry could have waited just a DAY this whole chaotic chain of events would have never happened!”  But, I am getting ahead of myself.

It’s weird writing a review for a film that has been around 20 years, and I am pretty sure EVERYONE reading this review has seen the film at least once.

At the visitor’s center, the group is on one of those studio rides where the theater seats move throughout the ride.  It was neat, because at one point I really thought the actors were in our audience with an over the shoulder shot that played a mental trick on my eyes.  They remove themselves from the ride, and see an incubation nest where a live dinosaur is being hatched.  On Hammond’s orders, he must be present for each birth.  Yes, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, there is a not so subtle God-metaphor with the Hammond character.  In this scene, I had one minor beef with the story.  When Grant is holding the dino-baby, he doesn’t immediately recognize it for a Raptor.  Raptors are like his obsession, he even carries around a claw he dug up previously.  I think he should have immediately noticed, oh crap, they bred Raptors!  Still, it was a minor point and easily explained away with his wanting to not recognize what he was holding.

Finally, after an incredible tour and a neat little theme park show that felt as authentic as any I’ve ever been to, the guests sit down to dinner and discuss the magnitude of the creator’s little experiment.  The Chaostician and the doctors are against the whole idea, and only the lawyer is on board once he sees how much money they can charge for the attraction.  Then, we meet them.  This crazy old man’s daughter is going through a divorce, so he says to his daughter, hey, I’ll watch the kids, I will bring them to my new park, they’ll love it.  Uhm, gramps didn’t mention the dinos I guess?  Yes, the creator, as I will now call him, has invited his own grandchildren to ride the first test run of the auto-mated safari tour of the grounds.

Here is another point where you practically scream at the screen, “Are you mad, old man?!?”

The introduction of the kids is great though, because it affords for comedy in the running joke that Grant hates kids.  And when he meets Timmy (who manages to do everything in this film EXCEPT fall down a well) he is instantly irked at his presence.  The kid (Joseph Mazzello) pesters him on his foolish notion that dinosaurs became birds.  And Timmy’s sister, Lex (Ariana Richards) is stoked when she sees the, wait for it, “interactive CD Rom!”  We all chuckled thinking how that used to be state of the art technology, and not that long ago, really in the grand scheme of things.

The Ford Explorers start off on their pre-programmed, tracked journey.  And, I really LOVED this part of the film, because (just like in real life), they couldn’t see squat.  They were taken from sign to sign saying “over here you’ll see the” and they never saw anything.  It’s like when you go to the zoo and the animals are all in the cave way in the back.  This experience leads to another classic one-liner from Goldblum.  But, the impatience grows too much for Grant who hops out of the vehicle and explores on his own.

Now everyone knows how the rest of the film plays out, with Samuel Jackson as Arnold, the guy trying to piece together the maniacal trap that Nedry has seemingly, unwittingly sprung on everyone in his attempt to steal dino embryos.  All the dinosaurs break free and a tremendous storm keeps the tension ratcheted to a nine on the Thrillometer!  The kids grow to trust Dr. Grant, and he in turn grows to not necessarily despise children.

There are foot chases with six-feet lizards with razor sharp claws.  The T-Rex swallows the lawyer, YAY, and we are reminded of the potential for destruction when a creator doesn’t ask the important question, not how can I create this . . . but rather, should I create this?

Normally I am not a big 3D lover, I can take it or leave it, but there were certain classic scenes, like “the goat,” “the T-Rex chowing on the Explorer,” “the lawyer being swallowed up on the crapper,” and of course “the kitchen chase” that all were incredibly IN YOUR FACE with the IMAX 3D experience.

So, while you may not get any new footage, or any surprises, this is a film worth exploring again if you’ve already seen it in theaters, and for the first time, if you haven’t had a chance yet.  You really should let Universal know what you thought and thank them for the opportunity to re-live one of their classic cinema masterpieces!

The Interactive CD Rom is a dinosaur now and it evolved all the way to a bird . . . twitter.  So, if you like, you can let Universal know all about how thankful you are to them with this hashtag #JP3D.  And, tell them Rick Swift sent you!

 

Olympus Has Fallen

Monday, March 25th, 2013

*****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (1 People gave this 4.00 out of 5)
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Olympus Has Fallen
Click the image above for more shots!

Can you be moved by three words? What about these three, Olympus Has Fallen? After watching this flick that was released in March 2013, you will be.

Director Antoine Fuqua did something that’s hard to do. He kept me on the edge of my seat for 120 minutes with this non stop action/thriller. From start to finish this movie never slows down!

Every cast needs a leader, so up steps Aaron Eckhart as President Benjamin Asher. Other great names and faces you’ll see are Morgan Freeman as Speaker Trumbull, Angela Bassett as Lynn Jacobs, Dylan McDermott as Forbes, Finley Jacobsen as Conner, Rick Yung as Kang and our hero, Gerard Butler as Mike Banning.

Nothing can be kept safe all the time, even with the best safety measures and protocols. We see first hand in this film that with determination, hatred for an enemy… and a small army, Olympus can fall. Let’s just hope if that happens we have a secret service agent like Gerard Butler who’s willing to try and take it back.

Now, we’ve all seen the White House get blown up or come under fire. Here we watch as it is slowly picked apart, brick by brick. The camera work is excellent; from the single shot of a tattered flag blowing in the wind to the wide shot of mass chaos in the streets. The chaos in this movie comes with a rating of R because of the language and violence… a lot of violence… bad guys take over the White House kinda violence.

Some of this imagery could be too much for people due to Fuqua’s bone chilling ability to direct a camera. He captures the small moments, like when you hear, “Olympus has fallen” and you get that sinking feeling in your chest, and watching a full blown raid on the front lawn, cringing as all those individuals stand their ground trying to defend the White House.

Pulse pounding action with great special effects will make you feel like you’re in the movie and make you want to duck for cover. The script was rather simple… the White House is overrun by bad guys. The play through and character development was really good. You can get attached to the cast and will come to love or hate them accordingly, due to the background details in the story that help to build and keep the movie going.

The Impossible

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

*****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (Give us your rating!!)
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TheImpossible

The Impossible defines powerful and emotional storytelling in film. It is a gut-wrenching true story told in a suspenseful and thrilling way which captivates from beginning to end.

The Impossible is the true story of one of the families who fell victim to the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. This film pulls no punches. The emotion is raw, the action is intense, and the performances are moving.

The Impossible is a story of human survival and the bond of family in the face of tragedy. It follows the family in the aftermath of being caught in one of the most destructive natural disasters in history. As with every film that is “based on a true story”, there are some aspects which I am sure were exaggerated for dramatic effect. The difference here is that every moment of this film is believable. Every struggle and every moment. It is because every moment feels real-to-life and presented with such an unflinching honesty that the emotion cuts so deep.

Every actor shines in this film. Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting, Star Wars Episodes 1-3) and Naomi Watts (King Kong, 21 Grams) put in Oscar worthy performances, but it is young actor Tom Holland who gives the tour-de-force. Holland’s performance isn’t great because he is a child, it is just simply a great performance. He deserves a nomination, without a doubt. Holland spends most of his screen time along side Naomi Watts and steals every scene. They say acting is reacting and Tom Holland puts the viewer there, in the moment, each time, responding in a truthful and gripping manner that sinks you right into the middle of his plight. The emotion is so raw you feel it as if you were experiencing it yourself.

All of the child actors in this film put in solid and honest performances. Credit must be given to both the actors and director J.A. Bayona. He managed to take very young, inexperienced actors and pull an engaging and moving performance from all of them.

The Impossible takes little time getting to the tsunami event which grounds the film. This sequence is heart racing and captivating. When Clint Eastwood’s snooze-fest Hereafter came out, critics applauded it’s presentation of a tsunami disaster. Hereafter has nothing on The Impossible. With films like The Avengers and The Life of Pi in competition this year, it is hard to say The Impossible has any chance of getting a VFX nom, but it absolutely deserves to. The VFX execution is subtle but flawless and deserves a mention, even if only in this review.

I’ve heard the criticism that this film won’t appeal to a wide audience due to its graphic presentation. I would be inclined to agree, however, J.A. Bayona’s execution of this story is handled in a white-knuckle fashion that has you holding on at every turn. In the same way films like Cast Away find a mainstream groove, so will The Impossible if given the chance.

Despite the potential for wide success, not many people have heard of this film. This is one of those films that will need word of mouth to help bring it to the mainstream. It is a deeply affecting film, a human story, that will resonate with audiences if they get a chance to see it. See it and spread the word.

One of Bayona’s previous films, The Orphanage, is one of the best horror films I’ve seen in years. That talent for building tension and a taut, intense atmosphere, is definitely carried over into this film. In fact, much of the crew and creative players from The Orphanage helped to create this film, including the writer, cinematographer and composer.

I cannot recommend this film enough. It is a strong, dramatic piece, but one that I think any film goer will find a rewarding journey to take. Take that first step and see The Impossible.

Zero Dark Thirty

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

*****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (2 People gave this 5.00 out of 5)
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ZDTAD

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Chris Pratt, Edgar Ramirez, Jason Clarke, Jennifer Ehle, Joel Edgerton, Mark Strong

“Zero Dark Thirty” (Military Jargon for Half Past Midnight) is a film about the decade long search by an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe, devoted to a single goal; to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden, the world’s most dangerous man.

CIA Agent Maya: “There are two narratives about the location of Osama bin Laden. The one that you’re most familiar with is that UBL is hiding in a cave in the tribal areas, that he’s surrounded by a large contingent of loyal fighters. But that narrative is pre-9/11 understanding of UBL. The second narrative is that he’s living in a city, living in a city with multiple points of egress and entry, access to communications, so that he can keep in touch with the organization. You can’t run a global network of interconnected cells from a cave.”

And so our doggedly determined heroine played brilliantly by Jessica Chastain (Lawless, The Help) begins her obsessive 10-year search for the most wanted terrorist in the world amid harsh interrogations, spotty information, repeated setbacks, and heavy bouts of political in-fighting.

You’ll find “Zero Dark Thirty” to be much more than a hunt him down and kill him film; it’s actually a hybrid. Though there’s lots of action and danger for the characters at every turn, in ways both brutal and engrossing, this is more a procedural film about methods and process, stumbling blocks and blind alleys, death and survival. A fascinating journey of tactics and obsession…and sudden death.

Even though we know the outcome of the film, Kathryn Bigelow’s (The Hurt Locker) direction and vision for this film combined with Mark Boal’s superb screenplay succeeds in generating enormous tension as it layers on story element after story element until it truly captures the context of the situation and the times they fit into. The film asks no questions of the audience or of itself, makes no conclusions about the actions taken, and yet still manages to make us feel what we and the hunters must have felt at that climactic moment in history…relief. That is the brilliance of this movie.

The film is almost three hours long, yet to me it felt fast. The climactic scene, that of S.E.A.L. Team Six’s raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound; a pinpoint-honed logistical operation, and his subsequent assassination is played out in meticulous detail. I felt I was actually seeing events as they happened, just like I imagine Maya did, on a screen from a distance. I’d hate to have someone like her on my trail, but knowing that there are people like her watching over the country, makes me feel just a little safer.

This is a must see film, but be warned, the action is brutal and disturbing, just like real life.

Review by Alyn Darnay of Chaos Films

Zero Dark Thirty

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

*****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (1 People gave this 5.00 out of 5)
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CLOSURE!

Zero Dark Thirty

Swift shot: Vindication, finally, for the “detainee program” in which we used all manner of physical intimidation to extract valuable, actionable intelligence from our enemies. You know, from bad people, literally hell bent on wiping us off the face of the planet. September 11th, 2001 is the day care-free America died and reality set in that our enemies were now bold enough to strike us at home. And, had they succeeded in their entire plan, the White House, Pentagon, Capitol and World Trade Center would all be ruins now. We all know where we were when it happened, and we all know what we did afterwards, or didn’t do, to make sure it didn’t happen again. Then there are the Crazy Mutherfuckers who only exist on the peripherals of the modern mind. Those folks did things that you don’t want to know about, and even this glossed-over Hollywood retelling barely touches on, in truth. This is their story.

You don’t like that we had to get dirty with our enemies, you don’t like that we have blood and shit on our hands? Tough, then go put on your jammies and I’ll read you a story. We are at war . . . our enemy knows this, we like to pretend that we aren’t, but some of us get it, and understand this concept, on a daily basis. We call these people, warriors, and they come in all shapes, colors and sizes, but their veins pump Red, White and Blue, and they say, we aren’t getting hit again, not on their watch, and they are willing to do anything to prevent it!

Whether we want to admit it or not, killing Bin Laden became Mission Numero Uno following the deadliest attack on American soil since the nineteenth century. He was a threatening menace to the US since the late nineties. I first heard the boogey man’s name in early 1997, Osama Bin Laden. At that time, I was in the Marines for almost 5 years and just leaving for my NATO post in Norway. UBL had an army of cameramen go onto several US bases (overseas) and record the children playing in the front yards on base housing compounds and sent the tapes to the CIA with the message “look how easily we could slaughter your children, while they play.” That was my personal first exposure to UBL, watching a kind of Public Service Announcement on the Armed Forces Network. That tape made my blood boil, and I wasn’t even a parent yet.

This is the clear message of Zero Dark Thirty, bad guys want to kill us, they want us to burn, they want our children to die, our mothers, our fathers, all of us . . . to die! They don’t fear us, but they did underestimate us, so we have to show them that we are more than willing and able to get into the gutter with them to do the dirty fighting we don’t like to admit to ourselves is necessary to protect our people. Zero Dark Thirty delivered this message home to me in a big way, they made no real apology for how they withdrew the intelligence, it was just matter of fact yet brutal when necessary. Still nothing, compared to what these lovely humans would do if the tables were turned, mere mind games compared to the medieval torture chambers they currently propagate around the world and their madrasas teaching their innocent children to hate us, en masse.

Jessica Chastain plays ‘Maya’ who is sent on her first assignment to interrogate a prisoner at a CIA Black Site, trying to expose “The Saudi Group” and determine their next target. She is under the tutelage of Dan (Jason Clarke) an Aussie born actor who delivers a charming, surfer-dude American with a heart of stone character. He probably isn’t the type of guy you would pinpoint as an enforcer in a crowded room. Physically, he is menacing, but you’d never know by his demeanor that he is good at “interrogating” people. I wasn’t able to really pin down if he enjoyed it, or if it was just a shitty job that he knew needed doing. To me, it appeared he didn’t enjoy the harsher stuff.

The two of them have been granted gloves-off immunity to get the information they need to capture or kill Bin Laden. But while they are chasing shadows, the terrorists are busy carrying out attacks around the world with devastating effects. Her team is helmed by Joseph Bradley (Kyle Chandler) who is rapidly becoming one of my favorite supporting actors. Also within her command is the Texas born Jessica (Jennifer Ehle) who is a bit of a hand-down from the Cold War era, she still thinks money is all it takes to turn the enemy. She doesn’t understand her new enemy. Perhaps it was for this reason that Maya was recruited so early in her life. I won’t spoil how early, as that was a bit of a shocker to me in the film when it is finally revealed.

As all the detainees are questioned and as some are turned, they start to reveal the identity of Abu Ahmed, at least that is his “war name.” Every detainee corroborates the existence of this figure, but is he real or is he a master stroke of misinformation by Al Qaeda? Maya becomes obsessed with this question . . . and little else! She has no social life, and even her friends at work rarely see her lighten-up. She is like a pit-bull, refusing to release her bite on this one piece of intel. Problem is, while she is certain this is the key to getting Bin Laden . . . she has no proof and the terrorists are not stopping their agenda while she works.

As the administration is replaced, i.e. Obama gets into office, the “detainee program” is shut down and it is rumored that all of the case officers will be facing criminal charges, Dan decides to opt-out of the interrogation game and focuses more on his career back at Langley. Maya doesn’t care who is in the White House, she has seen friends come and go and bosses come and go, and up to and until she is actually arrested for her work, she continues in her pursuit. But even she eventually winds up back at Langley due to orders from his holiness, no doubt.

Her tenacity finally pays off, the missing puzzle piece about Abu Ahmed, his “family name” is finally known and the rest of the pieces all fit to locate a fortress in Abbottabad, Pakistan, less than a mile from the Pakistani Military Academy . . . yes, really. All they know is that the guy they are tracking is supporting someone that really doesn’t want to be seen, not on satellite and not via ground surveillance. Maya is convinced it is the boogeyman, Osama Bin Laden. Still, in the intelligence community, there are countless degrees of speculative data. She is 100% sure it is him, her superiors are not as positive.

One of her superiors that you can’t help but respect is George (Mark Strong) who really brings home the fact that this isn’t a game in one excellent scene. Strong did a lot with very little screen time! Maya spends months trying to persuade him they need to act on the Abbottabad compound. Finally, they do. And that brings us right into the book, No Easy Day, where DEVGRU is tasked with either capturing or killing Bin Laden. Maya just wanted to turn the whole compound to dust with a giant bomb, but because the administration wasn’t completely sure he was there, they opted for a plan B, what Maya coined the canaries. Essentially, DEVGRU would sneak in and surgically take care of the problem. If Bin Laden wasn’t there, it would just be one of countless missions that you and I are not meant to know ever happened.

Justin (Chris Pratt), Patrick (Joel Edgerton) and others make up Seal Team Six (DEVGRU), and there is an eery calm reality as we see how quickly the op happens once the order has been given. In they go, without the Pakistani gov’t’s knowledge. Flying in top-secret new choppers, they assault the compound. This was a long film, but at no point did I want it to go quicker or feel like anything was tacked on. Essentially, Zero Dark Thirty is two movies, one full-length feature film on how the intelligence was gathered to lead up to the assault, which itself was about 30 minutes. The assault sequence was exactly as it was recalled in No Easy Day . . . to the smallest detail. There was one significant change in the Maya character from the book though that I was kind of disappointed in Director Bigelow for not showing the authentic Maya/Jen reaction.

How everything was edited together to carefully show the struggles and rewards of the warriors’ work is why this film deserves the utmost praise. I have already heard people calling this the year’s best film. It may not be as fantastic as some of the other films out of 2012. The cinematography doesn’t lend itself to grandiose images, and the matter-of-fact delivery of each scene can be daunting to some. Each new sequence is delivered with a chapter title and the film almost has a documentary feel to it, but not quite. I can easily see Bigelow winning another Oscar though. She got to deliver to America . . . and the world, the assassination of the most hated and feared boogeyman for America since Hitler.

Because Barack Obama decided to never make public the grotesque death pictures of Bin Laden, this film serves to provide what we all need . . . closure! On September 11th, 2001, Osama Bin Laden signed his death warrant, on May 1st, 2011, America called to collect what was owed all with a nice little whisper. [See the film to get that reference] In 2012, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal granted America a back-stage pass to a monster’s execution. If you need closure, Zero Dark Thirty is it.

[Swift aside: The CIA allegedly had nothing to do with this film, and all the “access” (or leaks as we like to call them in the biz) granted to Kathryn Bigelow’s team of film-makers was supposedly from Pentagon sources only. So, according to the CIA, we are to take anything on-screen with a large grain of sea-salt. Fine, I don’t care how they got UBL, I am just glad he is dead. But there lies the rub, now that this movie is out, considering we were led to believe some 10 minute REALLY poorly shot “film” caused such an uproar in the Middle East . . . . one wonders what repercussions ALL of the film-makers associated with Zero Dark Thirty will face for the rest of their lives. It is no small thing to call them all warriors as well, because they are all now marked men and women. So, God speed and good luck to them all. Their movie martyrs a madman, and martyrs often have mad followers.]

Reviewed by Rick Swift

Wreck-It Ralph

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

*****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (8 People gave this 5.00 out of 5)
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Super-sweet story with a ga-trillion one-liners!

Have you ever wondered what goes on at an arcade after it closes? Well then this is the movie for you. Even if that thought never crossed your mind, this is still a great movie for all to see.

Wreck-It Ralph is about a bad guy wanting to be good.  It begins at a Bad-Anon meeting . . . for bad guys. Along with “One Game at a Time,” their motto is “I am bad and that’s good, I will never be good and that’s not bad, there’s no one I’d rather be than me.”  And Ralph drops a shocker at the meeting when he confesses he is sick of being the bad guy. The rest of the bad guys (watch for the many familiar faces) remind him that “Being the bad guy does not mean you are a bad guy.”

In his game Fix It Felix Jr., Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is the bad guy who wrecks the building and Felix (voiced by Jack McBrayer) comes in and fixes everything back to normal. At the end of each digital day, Felix gets a medal for being the hero and is loved by all. But after 30 years of wrecking things, Ralph is done with being a bad guy. All Ralph wants is to be liked by the rest of the gang. He decides to find himself a medal so he can be seen as a hero too.

In his quest, Ralph goes behind the scenes and travels to other games through the Game Central Station. This is where all the video game characters go to mingle when the arcade is closed. Characters travel to the station through their game’s power cords that connect to the main surge protector.  Ralph manages to sneak into the first-person action game called Hero’s Duty. Here he meets Sergeant Calhoun (voiced by Jane Lynch) and the Cy Bugs, which are insects gone horribly wrong.

After Hero’s Duty, he travels to Sugar Rush, a candy filled cart-racing game. The game is full of every type of candy you can imagine . . . and probably more. This is where Ralph meets Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman). She is the outcast of all the characters in the game. All she wants is to become a racer, but the others won’t let her, because there is something a little off with her. Ralph is annoyed by Vanellope, because she is always there in his way preventing him from completing his mission. Ultimately, they wind up helping each other try and reach their goals. They start to become friends and like every good friendship, they learn to lean on one another while still picking on each other. Their adventure throughout the story is fun and charming.

Can Wreck-It Ralph become a real hero and save the day for many of the game systems in the arcade or will he always be a bad guy? Check out the movie to find out.

This is a great movie for kids and adults. There are video game characters from so many different games and decades, that there will be at least one familiar face for everyone to spot. The animation is unique for each game in the movie. The older games look like they would in a real arcade. All of the actors did a wonderful job in voicing their characters. Keep an eye and ear out for the Oreos, their part is small, but funny.

To quote a friend’s summing up of the movie, it is like Toy Story for arcade game characters.

[Swift Note – to all our local fans, the Boca Raton Museum of Art is currently exhibiting The Art of Video Games from now until January, at Mizner.  From what I have seen so far, it perfectly complements Wreck-It Ralph and is a must for any fan of video game history.  Highly recommend checking out their Facebook Page here too . . . no quarters needed!  Be sure and tell Sage hello from Rick Swift! – Also, my take on this film is simple, as I told the Palm Beach Post . . . if your kid doesn’t like this movie, get another kid!]

 

Seven Psychopaths

Friday, October 12th, 2012

*****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (Give us your rating!!)
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Seven Psychopaths isn’t EXACTLY what the title suggests, or is it? Technically it is, but the fact is it is a Movie inside of a “Movie”. You may question my meaning, but the movie involves an intriguing script and whence you see the film you will TRULY understand what the hell I am talking about.  You have to see the entire film to completely understand the title, and when you DO, you will not be disappointed; at least I wasn’t.

Seven Psychopaths is a movie in which we see the development of multiple characters also developing the story, or so it would seem. The opening of the film offers what some may deem a “Tarrintino” style conversation, but what it does is offer some laughs and an introduction. This is along the lines of “Pulp Fiction” in a different sort of way. The, somewhat, main character is named Martin (after what can be conceived) is that of Writer/Director Martin McDonagh. Martin is played by Collin Farrell, and is a down on his luck screenwriter who is searching for an idea, while also being a closeted alcoholic, writing a screenplay that it is in development.

He seeks to find any and all “help” for his latest screenplay, which is also the title of the movie. His best friend is a down and out actor named Billy (who is BRILLIANTLY played by Sam Rockwell). Billy can’t seem to hold an audition in his favor, thus he steals dogs he finds various people walking in the dog park. Billy is not alone in this line of work; his accomplice is Hans (Christopher Walken, in a TRULY great performance). While Martin knows the line of work Billy is involved in, he attempts to offer him help in his further roles. Martin allows Billy to know the screenplay that he is currently writing, and Billy lovingly, and somewhat unknowingly, shows Billy a point of reference to his current screenplay.  This is a slow, yet at times, a great build up. It holds the attention of everyone, and still gives the viewer something to laugh at as the movie builds. The build is unique . . . it adds unexpected laughs and allows the viewer to understand each of the characters.

Billy continues to go about his constant line of work, which seemingly pays off, with Hans. Billy, unfortunately, steals the dog of a rather well known “Crime Boss” of the area; Charlie (Woody Harrelson). Charlie, so upset by the loss of his beloved Shih-Tzu, questions the person who was walking the dog at the disappearance. Martin, with Billy’s “help” discovers that he has written an ad for help in research of the screenplay Martin is writing. Only one response is to be had, but it sets up a truly excellent scene.

The person who responded is Zachariah (Tom Waits), and upon his arrival Billy leaves, with an excuse, and Martin listens to a truly well written story. This part of the movie added so much for me; I am a Tom Waits fan, but beyond that was such an unbelievable story that needs to be seen to be appreciated. Also, while Martin is alone contemplating, in Billy’s house, the events that have occurred, Martin stumbles upon Billy’s “journal” that offers some insight into who Billy is. The scene is one of laughs and reflection. The questioning leads to the conclusion that multiple occurrences of missing dogs have happened in the same area, and the search begins. Of course, from the previews, we all KNOW who has the dog; Billy. Thus the search and the movie truly begin to take shape. Martin, due to unfortunate circumstances, meets Hans for the first time. The movie has established several storylines by this point; you TRULY need to see it to understand, and this continues to the next part of the story.

Billy, Martin, and Hans have hit the road to escape the doom that may possibly meet them. Martin is gaining more and more experience to write his screenplay, and hearing multiple stories; including what he has witnessed firsthand is adding to the screenplay as well. Around a campfire, in a remote place, Martin asks Billy and Hans for possible inspiration. Both look at him in a questionable wonderment about what he is truly asking from both of them. Billy then explains the ending of the screenplay, in a scene where Sam Rockwell shows his BRILLIANCE, we get insight to a scene that is described and played out for the viewers. This scene shows the genuine ability of the screenplay and the ability of the actors in the movie. Some may say it is over the top, but I feel that is what makes the movie. It ties all the “Psychopaths” together and adds a little something for those who like the “Ultra Violence”. The dialogue between the characters and everything also adds something that is missing in some of the slower scenes, but the movie has yet to reach the TRUE climax.

The climax of the movie is understandably how the characters would WANT it to end, and after the build, the viewers would expect nothing less. We now have the understanding of who everyone is, but do we “Truly” understand what has yet to be told. The final scenes do offer closure in a unique way that gives credit to everyone involved with the movie. Hans gives direction, Billy has his “ending” and Martin has his script, or so he believes. Stay after part of the credits to TRULY understand what I mean.

Seven Psychopaths is in fact a movie that incorporates all the Directors and Screenwriters that I LOVE. This movie isn’t TRULY for everyone, but I believe a majority will be happy with the product. Martin McDonagh does a great job of writing a unique screenplay, and also invites viewers into a world that he has created using several different writing and directing styles. The previews give little more than even a sample into what the movie has to offer. The dialogue and acting ALONE make this movie worth seeing, but I actually can go on record as saying that I could watch this multiple times and still take away something different from every viewing. The complex humor and dialogue make it a must see, but the acting of Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell make it even more of a treasure to me.

Brave

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

*****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (2 People gave this 5.00 out of 5)
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“Are you willing to pay the price your freedom will cost?”

Swift shot:  My four year old son was enthralled, a word he doesn’t even know yet, but he was.  He barely moved from the front of his seat and neither did his father.  But, this wasn’t a film for fathers and sons, it was a rare glimpse by Disney into a complicated mother and daughter relationship.  At its heart, that is what Brave really is, a tale set in the Scottish highlands about a coming of age, rebellious princess and her well-meaning mother finding there is still hope to mend their torn bond.

Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is her father’s daughter and the first-born of her clan.  She is head-strong, beautiful and . . . brave, but it is her solemn duty to keep the peace between the other clans by marrying one of their ‘eligible’ bachelors.  I mentioned she was head-strong, and her father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly) is a brute of a man, but as daring as he might be in battle, he wants no part of convincing his daughter that she must wed for the sake of the kingdom or anything else for that matter.  He dotes on all of his children, but when it comes to delicate matters he always turns to his wife, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson).   But she is ill-equipped to contain the savage independent creature who used to be her little girl.

Things come to a head when there is a competition to choose the winning suitor to capture Merida’s hand . . . let’s just say she shoots that idea down with graceful arrogance.  Her mom is unbearably upset by her disregard for tradition.  At least, that is what you might think, in truth there is a lot more at stake than Merida can fathom, being a ginger-haired, free-spirited teenager who knows EVERYTHING and decides her mother really just needs to listen to her . . . then she would understand.  If only there were some way to change her mind.  Merida gallops off through the dark and creepy forest on her magnificent steed, Angus, to find the answers.  But what she finds is that sometimes the easy answers are rarely, if ever, the best answers.

Brave is an incredible film on every level.  Each strand of hair on Merida’s head was painstakingly crafted by the Pixar team.  They really introduced their first Disney princess with a perfect style and form that will be the benchmark for future leading ladies . . . and near impossible to surpass.  I rarely tout 3D in films, but this is one that I think fans of 3D would be foolish to miss, the geniuses at Pixar dedicated this film to someone special, and their commitment to excellence is captured in every single shot.  I challenge you to find fault with their work.

Brave’s story was unique as well; if there is a comparable Scottish legend that exists, I am unaware of it, at least.  There may be a few surprises in store for you, but one twist was easy to spot from a mile away if you are a savvy movie-goer (I will discuss that with you in the comments section).  Still, this is a great family film, even though there are some minor mature scenes that may stick with the little ones.  My son was fine, but I can’t speak for every tike.  Suffice it to say, you might find yourself saying, “It’s not real, kiddo.”  You will laugh, you will find yourself getting a bit choked up at times, and you will be moved by the Disney magic . . . as only they can really pull off.

Brave was a heart-warming story with a nice twist that ties into a message we could all stand to remember, don’t try to change the fate of others to craft your own, be brave and bold and your destiny will find you.  Oh, and stick around after all the credits!

Beauty and the Beast 3D

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

*****

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (2 People gave this 4.00 out of 5)
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Originally released in 1991, “Beauty and the Beast” was the 30th Disney animated film.  It may be over 20 years old now but, like most Disney animated films, it’s timeless.  And hey, this one is a tale as old as time, right??

Belle (Paige O’Hara) lives with her father Maurice (Rex Everhart) in a village in France.  Everyone in their village thinks they are both crazy:  Maurice because he is a crackpot inventor (he’s just a little eccentric!) and Belle because she’s a little odd, and she also enjoys to read.  Gaston (Richard White) is the town brute.  Everyone thinks he’s awesome while in reality he’s really boorish and brainless (as Belle tells him).  Gaston is dead set on marrying Belle, but she wants nothing to do with him.  Belle dreams of adventures and getting away from her village.  She soon gets her wish when her father gets lost on his way to an inventors function and his horse Philippe finds his way back home.  Concerned for her father’s safety, Belle hops on Philippe and he leads her to a castle in the woods.

But this is no normal castle, this castle is magical.  Its residents include a Beast (Robby Benson) and his servants who have been transformed into enchanted objects.  When he was a human prince, the Beast was mean and selfish and he made the wrong person mad, because she happened to be an enchantress who cast a spell upon the prince and his servants, turning the prince into a hideous Beast and his servants into objects such as a candelabra, Lumiere (Jerry Orbach), a clock, Cogsworth (David Ogden Stiers), a teapot, Mrs. Potts (Angela Lansbury), and a teacup, Chip (Bradley Pierce), to name a few.  The prince and his crew were doomed to remain in their new appearances forever, unless someone falls in love with the Beast.

Easier said than done, as the Beast has a bit of a temper problem.  He pretty much kidnapped Maurice and said he would keep him forever (because he trespassed in his castle, but only to escape a pack of wolves and rain), until Belle offers to take his place as the Beast’s prisoner.   The enchanted objects are hopeful that Belle may be the one to break the spell, but to get Belle to fall in love with the Beast is a near impossible task.

The soundtrack to “Beauty and the Beast” features the fantastic songs “Belle”, “Gaston”, “Be Our Guest”, “Something There”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “The Mob Song”.  Each number is exciting and fun and definitely makes you want to sing along!!

While I’m not a huge fan of 3D in movie theaters (I feel that it belongs in theme parks), I have to mention that the 3D version of “Beauty and the Beast” looked amazing.  It added depth and richness to the scenes in the forest.  It made an already fantastic movie even better.  Also of note, this version of the movie does not include the song “Human Again” which was featured on the Platinum Edition DVD release that came out in 2002.

Trivia:  I did some research and although it’s never mentioned in the movie, according to imdb, it was revealed on a Disney CD-Rom game that the price’s human name is Adam.  So now you know!!

One thing that always puzzled me:  In the prologue, it states that the enchantress cast the spell and gave him a rose that would bloom until his 21st year.  However in the song “Be Our Guest”, the enchanted objects state that they’ve been in their current non-human state for ten years.  So was the prince 11 when the enchantress cast the spell on him?  If so, he looked awful grown for 11 years old!!  And, where were his parents??  Is this an error or am I missing something??

Before the movie, there is a short called “Tangled Ever After”, which continues the story of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider (Mandy Moore and the totally awesome Zachary Levi).   I won’t spoil the plot but I will say that Maximus the horse and Pascal the chameleon totally steal the show!!  It was a nice continuation of the “Tangled” story.  Unfortunately, I did not notice if Rapunzel was wearing shoes this time.

It’s a two for one special you just can’t miss!!