December 25, 2012

The Polar Express

Since it's still Christmas, and it's still the Christmas season, I decided to write about a Christmas movie. honestly, I'm not very big on Christmas movies, as much as I love the holidays. I decided to get this one for two reasons. First, Tom Hanks was in it, and you all know how much of a fan I am of Mr. Hanx. Second, I've always been curious about this movie cause I remember seeing the trailer and being on the fence of it, and it caused me to want to watch the movie just to feed my curiosity. But I will keep this short not to take much time from your holidays.

The Polar Express was a 2004 movie directed by Robert Zemeckis, director of Forrest Gump, which as we know won several awards and gained wide recognition. It starred Tom Hanks, also star of Forrest Gump, Josh Hutcherson, Daryl Sabara, Leslie Zemeckis, Eddie Deezen, Nona Gaye, Tinahse, Peter Scolari and many more. It was a commercially successful movie, although critics only gave it mixed to positive feedback.

I kinda liked it. There were a few parts that were a little boring. But for the most part, it was a good movie. It was very family friendly, and very suited for children. It taught valuable lessons while keeping the spectacular element of it. The visuals were great and the effects were just amazing. The visuals itself made the story enjoyable. The story was also worth noticing. I twas about believing, not only in Christmas or Santa Claus, but in general. It's about hope and faith. I thought that was a beautiful focus for a children's movie.

I also want to mention how amazing Tom Hanks was taking on different roles for the movie. He was truly a star and he managed to handle all the roles given to him, in this movie alone. Josh Hutcherson was also commendable as the main protagonist of the movie. Everyone who provided voices, or the action-capture, were amazing. They should all be proud of the movie. Most especially the director for creating this kind of movie. An entertaining movie with a valuable lesson, and of course, my favorite, stunning effects.

Merry Christmas everyone and enjoy the holidays.

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December 22, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I had the opportunity to watch The Hobbit a few days ago, but only had the chance to write about it now. Although I haven't read the books, I can say that I still enjoyed the movie.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the first movie in the trilogy that will present a prequel for The Lord of The Rings. It was directed by Peter Jackson and stars Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen. The movie has already grossed over 200 million dollars worldwide, and it's just in its second week. The movie will probably earn double of that amount by the time it's finished its run. I'm just guessing. 

The first part of the movie wasn't too impressive. For an ultra-hyped movie, I expected it to grab me within the first few minutes, but it didn't. It was a little boring actually, and given I hadn't had any sleep that time, I was ready to be disappointed. However, after the initial reaction, my sentiments quickly changed, and all very sudden at that. It was so sudden, I couldn't point out where it started to get good. But it did, and it did so drastically. It quickened its pace, but not too quick to make it seem being rushed. I do have to say that the first part brought me down memory lane because of the connection this movie established with the LOTR franchise. It was very nostalgic to see Frodo and Bilbo together again. 

The rest of the movie ranged from good to amazing. Sure there were a couple of parts they could have cut off, but also some parts that really triggered a sense of excitement and satisfaction as a viewer. It was also good that they still had some funny moments even though the movie was all bout action and thrill. It had a balance that provided quality entertainment. I especially enjoyed the parts they were being chased, or being attacked. I thought those moments were the best scenes in the movie. I wouldn't give too much away since I'm sure some of you haven't seen it yet. But yeah, look out for those parts. They were really good, and the execution was nothing less than perfect. 

Martin Freeman was a great Bilbo Baggins. He was on point in every single scene and was a real scene-stealer. Ian Holm did a great portrayal of Bilbo, but Martin Freeman made sure to step up to te plate and rise up to the challenge. He was really good in the movie. Took on the role like he was that character. It was amazing to see that kind of performance. And it was even better to see Ian McKellen back as Gandalf. I could not imagine anyone else play Gandalf and it was almost majestic to see him in this role once again. It's impossible not to be too impressed by this guy. What made it even better was how the two of them managed to create this push and pull dynamics that made the movie much more interessting. 

Other stars returning to the franchise was Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, and Andy Serkis as the creature Gollum. It was refreshing to see these familiar faces on screen again on the very series that created this huge fanbase. However, the additional cast were just as amazing. Richard Armitage was a strong lead for the dwarves. His presence in the movie was always notable, and he delivered in his take o the character of Thorin. 

The movie ended really abruptly for me, with no clear resolution. I guess that's what's so weird for me in this movie. I know it's a trilogy so it can't end in a typical ending way. I don't even know what kind of ending I was expecting but I'm sure it wasn't that. The good thing was that it ended in a sort of cliff-hanger so it just created tat element of excitement and mystery. And that's not too bad at all. I guess the ending was ok, and I'm sure real fans of the book series will love it. As for me, I wanted a different one, but I wouldn't complain too much either. 

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December 09, 2012

Rise of the Guardians

I wasn't too thrilled like the others when I saw the trailer of this movie. It was funny, but not enough to convince me to go see it. But a friend of mine wanted to watch it and I tagged along. I guess it was a pleasant surprised as I didn't expect to have such a great time in the movies, considering I have just finished work.

Rise of the Guardians is an animated movie by DreamWorks, who also did the Shrek franchise. It stars Chris Pine as Jack Frost, Alec Baldwin as Santa Claus, Hugh Jackman as the Easter Bunny, Isla Fisher as the Tooth Fairy, Jude Law as Pitch, Dakota Goyo as the child, and although no one voiced him, I'd like to include the Sandman in this list. I also consider the movie as a comedy, superhero movie given its premise. Unfortunately, the film isn't bringing in enough numbers in the box-office, which is really tough since it was released along with the finale of the Twilight Saga and the latest Bond film, which broke box-office records. It was probably tough to compete with these two, even though RIse of the Guardians had a completely different market.

It's probably one of the funniest animated, children's movie I've seen. Also, dare I say it, one of the cutest. Especially Sandy who stole the hearts of just about everyone in the cinema, proved by the constant expression of different people of "cute" whenever he appeared. Another one worth noticing for the "cute" aspect of the film was the transformation of the Easter Bunny. However, aside from it being cute, it was also hysterical. The members of the audience were literally laughing uncontrollably throughout the movie. It was amazing how a children's movie was being able to trigger emotions from adults (there was almost no children in the movie house when I went). I;m pretty sure the hilarity of it was one of the main reasons why everyone we were all having time. I've been told it was a funny movie by my officemate but I didn't expect this level of quality of humor. It was a joy to watch.

It was an interesting choice to transform childhood figures to be sort of superheroes with weapons, which I though was really cool. Who knew the Easter bunny was a hardcore boomerang thrower. Or that Santa's efficient in sword fighting. I have to confess through that I didn't know who Jack Frost was. I live in a tropical county; snow is definitely out of the picture. I didn't know the idea behind Jack Frost so it was interesting and new for me to see his character develop. I got to know the concept of him through the process.

The movie had a simple, but decent story line. It was about hope, belief, and goodness. It's about protecting the ideals of children: basically, protecting their childhood. The gang was ready to take on the task even though it was a very tough one. It did sound convincing though. Which reminds me, I never figured out Alec Baldwin was the voice of Santa Claus on;y because he dubbed the character with a sort of Russian voice that didn't sound like him at all. That's great voice acting right there. The others did well too. Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, Isla Fisher and of course, Chris Pine were all amazing at lending their voices for this movie. Truly awesome.

I'm a little disappointed this movie's not performing too well on the box-office, but I hope they recover their losses in DVD. That way, it will also mean that more people had the chance and opportunity to watch this incredible film. It was very witty! That's what I liked most about it.

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December 04, 2012

Cheaper By The Dozen 2

After the success of the first film, a sequel of Cheaper By The Dozen was released two years after the original. It featured the same cast for the Baker family, with a lot of new faces for their rivals. Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Piper Perabo, Tom Welling, Hilary Duff, Kevin Schmidt, Alyson Stoner, Jacob Smith, Forrest Landis, Liliana Mumy, Morgan York, Blake Woodruff, and Brent and Shane Kinsman were back to cause more troubles, more fun and more heartwarming stories. This time joining the fun were Eugene Levy, Carmen Electra, Jamie King, Shawn Robets, Robert Amell, Alexander Conti and a very young Taylor Lautner. While the reviews were extremely negative, the film still managed to impress in the box office.

I'd have to say that the first movie was way better than this. While still maintaining that charm the first movie had, it lacked something. I still could not point out what it was that made it seem less exciting compared to the first, but there was something definitely missing here. The cast was just as brilliant, and I did like the concept of the story. I liked the performances of the actors and I liked the scenery it had. It must be the overall piecing together of the movie. I'm leaning towards the this since at the beginning I felt that some scenes were out of place, and unnecessary. It also lacked a bit of order and organization. 

What I did like about the movie was how it gave the other kids a chance to be a little more prominent. I mentioned before that the first movie made sure to feature all the 12 kids. This time, they did that as well, and more effectively, I must say. I felt like the kids who weren't as visible before were more present in this film. It was like giving the chance to shine to the other kids. That I really appreciated. Morgan York and Liliana Mumy, and Jacob Smith had breakthroughs. I'm also glad they stuck with creating a story arc for Forrest Landis and Alyson Stoner as they were my two favorites from the first film, Although Stoner had a much bigger role in this film. 

I enjoyed the competitive element of the movie. It added flavor and spice to the movie, and it became a source of laughter. At first, that was how the movie was described to me: two families battling it out. While it did happen, it wasn't until towards the end of the movie. However, I quite enjoyed those moments when the two groups were concentrating on winning. It also proved how reliable Steve Martin's antics are to ensure a good laugh. It's the exaggeration on his face when he reacts that I appreciate. Maybe I'm just really a kid, but I enjoy that kind of comedy, much more than I'd care to admit.

Eugene Levy, Carmen Electra, Jamie King, Shawn Robets, Robert Amell, Alexander Conti and Taylor Lautner were great additions. This "family" escalated the level of entertainment of the movie, and their characters proved to be a valuable asset to the story arcs of the different Bakers. It was fun to see how the relationship/conflict/battle/chaos would develop given the different levels and dynamics of the different characters. This part of te writing I was actually impressed by. It was on the genius side to transform the Baker family into rough and tough family. No more of the sweet side, it was time to bring it on; and that's exactly what they did. 

It was these small things that made me still quite like this movie. The this about this movie was it got better and better as the time passed by, only it reached its maximum point towards the end that it was quite hard to feel as fulfilled as the first one. Having said that, it had its own merits. It was a real family movie, and not just about having a lot of kids. It's having to deal with issues and feelings like letting go, being able to know one's boundaries. It was a mature movie which was odd considering most of the cast were really young. But it had a sense of achievement after it in that it imparts valuable lessons in family life, or life in general. It focuses not only on the hits or misses, but the balancing of both. That aspect of the movie was very commendable.

Sure the first movie was a bit more glorious, and more exciting. But this movie had its own value. I won't even deny the fact that I found myself being amused by the little quirks of the movie. How they were able to intertwine different subjects within a single story line. If we're going to talk about the movie's faults, we should be fair and acknowledge the merits it had, and there were quite some really worth mentioning like the ones I talked about above.

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December 02, 2012

Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday was a 1953 film starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. I guess you could say that this was an old school romantic comedy. It was directed by William Wyler, who also served as the film's producer. The film also featured Eddie Albert, Hartley Power, Harcourt Williams, Margaret Rawlings, and Tullio Carminati. It was nominated for numerous academy awards, including Eddie Albert's nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and won several Academy Awards including the Best Actress award for Hepburn. It's also listed as one of the best rom-coms by the American Film Institute, ranking it number four in that specific category.

It's really different to see a comedy, let alone a romantic comedy, during the earlier years of cinema. It's very different from the ones we have now. I guess we have a different kind of humor now than they did back then. It's a long time ago so a lot of things have changed. It's the same thing I said when I wrote about "The Million Pound Note" where I said that the type of comedy they had back then was extremely different than the ones we have now. It's amazing to see two different sides of comedy, and anyone who'd watch old movies must learn to appreciate it. I quite enjoy both types.

The main story revolved around a royal princess who wanted to be free from all her obligations. One night she decided to run away, but only after a sleeping drug had been induced in her system, resulting to her falling asleep on the streets. Then comes a reporter, although his occupation remains unknown to the princess, who then gets her to his home to rest. Upon learning that the girl he brought home was the princess he was supposed to interview, he saw an opportunity to make great money by writing a story about the princess without her knowing. Thus starts an odd relationship, filled with a few problems with all the lies.

It's one of the most heartbreaking rom-coms out there. I don't want to say too much but the way the story ended, while thoughtful, was emotional. It's uncommon let's say, for a movie of this genre. However, I will say that I liked this ending mostly because it was surprising. It also demonstrated why Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn are two of the most famous stars back then, and up to now. Clearly they brought their selves into the role and made it work. Hepburn was a picture of grace and elegance, while Peck was gentleman.

It took me a while to bring myself to watch this. I wanted to watch this because, as you all know, I am a huge fan of Gregory Peck. Plus, I've never seen a movie of Hepburn before so I thought this would be hitting two birds with one stone. At the same time, I'm also not too big on these kinds of movies so it took me a while to finally hit the "Play" button on this movie. I even saw other films first. Having seen it now, I have nothing but appreciation for the movie. It's a refreshing one for me. Quite different.

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