Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Links of the week

A few pieces of news about The Hobbit leads this weeks batch of links, but there's also news for The Dark Knight Rises and some great dietary suggestions. Also, my strange addiction to Hunger Games casting reports has finally come to an end.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Panda 2 the power of awesome

My favorite thing about the summer movie season--at least until I run out of cash--is that there's a new movie I want to see released every weekend. This means I don't have to spend time thinking of interesting or unique ideas for blog posts. Yesterday, Kung Fu Panda 2 beat out Hangover II for my ticket money, and even though I'll probably catch Hangover soon, I'm happy with the decision. Though did you really expect less? Have you read the title of this blog? How could I not like a movie about awesomeness? The first Kung Fun Panda (which I only saw for the first time a little over a year ago) featured Jack Black as Po the Panda, with a supporting voice cast that featured Angelina Jolie (in what I believe is her best role), Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, and others. That cast is back for the sequel and picks up Gary Oldman and Danny McBride to play the new villains.

Anyway, Kung Fu Panda 2 follows solidly in the footsteps of its predecessor. It's not particularly innovative and there's no plot twists you won't see coming, but the filmmakers remember what the movie is supposed to be, which is just solid fun.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A quick movie roundup

Battle: Los AngelesLooking at my 2011 film rankings, I noticed there's quite a few films I've seen but haven't commented upon.

So here's a summery of everything else I've seen this year. Some of these are already out on DVD, a couple might even still be in theaters. It's all after the break.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Pirates are back, again

Well, I caught Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Pirates 4) last night. I saw a 2D screening, because I'm of the rapidly growing opinion that 3D is simply a waste of money, and I can't think of any scenes that would be significantly improved by the technology. Now, I was looking forward to seeing this movie, and I really wasn't disappointed, but I think I can summarize my opinion of Pirates 4 this way: It is easily the second best Pirates of the Caribbean movie. That said, Dead Man's Chest & At World's End left the bar for the series lying on the ground, so this movie could make it over that in a drunken stupor. And it's not even that bad. If you were a fan of Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush in the first three, then you'll be perfectly happy with this. Actually, I think Geoffrey Rush's Captain Barbossa has gotten better. On the other hand, if you were a Orlando Bloom/Keira Knightley fan, you're out of luck, because if you haven't heard by now, they aren't back for this.

I'm currently ranking Pirates 4 above Sucker Punch, making it my number #2 film for this year, though I'll have to see how I feel about it after some time has passed. Basic rule of thumb, if a few months from now, I keep forgetting about it, it'll drop down a few places.

Very minor spoilers will follow, but nothing you probably didn't learn from the trailer. Oh yeah, and there's a scene after the credits.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

First look at The Hunger Games

Entertainment Weekly has the first image of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in the upcoming film adaptation of The Hunger Games. The look at Katniss includes her trademark bow and mockingjay pin. Of course she's looking pretty airbrushed and cleaned-up right now. Hopefully, the film itself will include the mud and blood and sweat from the books. It'll be interesting to see how the filmmakers deal with the story's action and violence, since there's no way they'll even consider an R rating, nor should they. Anyway, Lawrence's casting was only announced a couple months ago and the film is due out next March. I really wish more movies came together this quickly. Yes, I'm talking about the eight-year wait for The Hobbit.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A few awesome things

Here's a few things that have been sitting in my RSS feed just waiting to be shared. There's some Marvel movie news, a final piece of Hunger Games casting and news on Steven Spielberg's long-delayed Abraham Lincoln movie, plus a couple pieces of technology that belongs to the future, and my favorite TV show gets a final season. It's all after the jump.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Flashback: The Lord of the Rings

It's time for another entry in my flashback series. Following in the footsteps of Jurassic Park, here is my other favorite book/movie: The Lord of the Rings. Though this series was not my first introduction to fantasy, it certainly cemented it as a part of my life. I believe my parents first read the books aloud to me when I was about ten, and I'd reread them myself by the time Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring landed in theaters. And even as much as I'd loved those books, seeing the films was absolutely epic. However, as much as I'd like to launch into a diatribe about why The Lord of the Rings should be counted among the greatest books and films of all time, that's not the purpose of this post.

Friday, May 6, 2011

"Thor" brings a hammer of awesome

Thor is the first superhero movie of the summer and my second most anticipated film of 2011. As of now, it's the best movie I've seen this year. I mentioned before that I was looking forward to Captain America blending the superhero genre with the World War II film. Well, it turns out Thor pulls a similar trick. It's a classic superhero story blended with Lord of the Rings-style epic fantasy and healthy dash of Stargate-style science fiction and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes even one of those genres. Director Kenneth Branagh--yes, the man that played Gilderoy Lockhart--brings his Shakespearian sensibility into play managing the father-son-brother story that's heart of the movie, and isn't half bad when it comes to the action sequences either.

I fully expect Thor to stay in my top 10 for this year. There's nothing conditional about that (unlike The Eagle), and I'll probably buy the DVD as soon as it comes out.

Quick note: If you see Thor (and this goes for all of the Marvel studios movies), STAY THROUGH THE CREDITS. They've raised that 30-second clip to an art form.

There'll be some SPOILERS in the next section, so don't read on if you're worried about that kind of thing.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Flashback: Iron Man

In anticipation of Thor's release this Friday, I thought I'd take a look back at some other Marvel movies from the past few years, since decided I wanted to watch several of them over again. The first is Iron Man, the only film in 2008 that I like more than The Dark Knight, and the film that raised the Superhero movie to the point where it's probably my favorite single genre. Iron Man was the first of the films made by independently by Marvel Studios, and the company's ability to understand their own property probably helped Iron Man get a better movie than the less fortunate Fantastic Four. Avoiding and updating much of the traditional Iron Man storylines probably helped as well. Classic villains like the Mandarin are only hinted at, while the Alfred-stand-in butler Jarvis is replaced with the computer voiced by Paul Bettany. Of course, the real reason this film works so well is the performance of Robert Downey Jr.as the arrogant, womanizing, alcoholic genius Tony Stark. These reasons alone are enough to get Iron Man onto my list of all-time favorite movies.