The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pulgasari


True Story: Once upon a time, there was a South Korean director named Shin Sang-ok. He was married to an actress named Choi Eun-hee. The two of them divorced and in 1978, Choi was kidnapped from her Hong Kong hotel room. When Shin went to investigate, he to was kidnapped and brought before the "prince" of North Korea. You may remember the "prince" of North Korea...


Now that the "prince" had his director, and his former leading lady, at his "recommendation" they were re-married and produced several Communist propaganda films at his pleasure. One of them was a giant monster movie called "Pulgasari."

We open in Feudal Korea, where a nobility of Evil Tyrannical Capitalists are twirling their mustaches and being mean to villagers because they can't find a group of bandits that stole a small pile of their iron. Of course, the villagers are hiding the iron, and the Evil Tyrannical Capitalists arrest a few, throw them into cells and, GASP, give them food. They are also questioned as to the whereabouts of their stolen iron. The old blacksmith tells them that the legendary Pulgasari ate it.


Honestly, I don't know what the big deal is. There is no iron anywhere in this movie, just aluminum foil. All the swords bend in the wind... or when placed against someone's skin. But, if I were an Evil Tyrannical Capitalist, and I had to wear plastic Walmart Halloween armor, and had a bendy sword, I guess I'd be peeved too.

The old blacksmith refuses to eat. When his daughter and his other gender-ambiguous child throw rice into his cell through the window, instead of eating it, he carves the rice into a small toy.


The old man starves to death and his body is given to his children to bury. His daughter finds the doll and while sewing, she pricks her finger and bleeds on it. The doll comes to life and begins consuming all the iron. As it eats, it grows. And as it grows, the Evil Tyrannical Capitalists behave like douchebags.




Eventually, Pulgasari grows to be about a hundred feet tall, and starts obliterating the Capitalist Army. Everything they throw at him gets beaten back. You've all seen Godzilla movies, you know the drill. I will give them credit for one pretty creative sequence where they lure Pulgasari into a cage, set fire to it, try to burn it alive, it fails and they all try to escape into the river only for Pulgasari to plunge in after them and because he is so hot, he boils them all alive.

Yes, you are looking at Kim Jong Il's Mary Sue. You're welcome.

Lots of mayhem, and eventually the Evil Tyrannical Capitalists are destroyed. But, what about the iron eating Pulgasari? Here is where the movie finally gets a little interesting. And by interesting, I mean Shin Sang-ok delivers a pretty big "fuck you" to Kim Jong Il, which is so blatant, I can only assume Kim Jong Il was a moron who couldn't see the obvious. Pulgasari doesn't go away. It demands that the people keep feeding it. It's big, it's dangerous, it's become their tyrant. Gee... sound familiar?

Do I recommend seeing it? Well, if you're in the mood to laugh your ass off at a really stupid movie, with a pretty wacky back story to how it came into being, sure. But don't pay for it. I didn't. I pirated it. I stole from North Korea. I hope SOPA, or whatever Congress is calling it now doesn't mind.

So, what did we learn? That Shin Sang-ok was awesome... then he escaped and started making "Three Ninjas" sequels, and that Communists can't do anything right. Oh, and Capitalists have echoing evil laughter, funny hats, and carry aluminum foil swords and wear plastic Walmart Samurai armor.

My only regret? That Kim Jong Il didn't live long enough to slash his Mary Sue with Mothra.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Lord of the Rings - The Motion Picture Trilogy




Ash nazg durbatul√Ľk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakutul√Ľk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

I'll never forget that night, when the lights dimmed and we heard the music and Galadriel began narrating in the elvish language, Sindarin. For the next three years, from the premiere of "The Fellowship of the Ring" to the release of the extended edition of "The Return of the King" on DVD, I was obsessed. I lived and breathed these movies and Tolkien's novels. As such, when I received the Extended Edition Trilogy on Blu-ray for Christmas, I was ecstatic. I figured it was time for a retrospective review of the Holy Trilogy.

I watched all three of them again and, what can I say? The passion was still there. Do I see more flaws in the trilogy now than I did several years ago? Of course. Does that diminish my love for these films, or their greatness? Not at all.

I decided to review "The Lord of the Rings" as one long, eleven and a half hour epic, as opposed to just three films. They were shot all at once, and I think I can do that. I will start with saying that, these movies whether as a whole of by themselves feel different than anything else I've ever watched. They are an experience. It is a journey, and you go on it with all of these characters, particularly our four leads.

Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) is our protagonist. He is somewhat of a messianic character, but with a lot more character flaws. He goes on this journey to save the world, and he loses himself on that journey. That is far more powerful than the standard movie hero's journey, where everything turns out hunky dory at the end of the picture. Some times you can't go home again. What is the real price one must pay when one faces true evil? Thankfully, few of us will ever have to learn that lesson in real life. While I have heard some people accuse Frodo of being weak, I argue against that. He is stronger than most of us. He may not be able to wield a sword as well as a warrior, but there are different kinds of strength. No one but Frodo Baggins could have gotten as far as he had.

Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) is the far more traditional hero for a tale such as this, and we go along with him as he embraces his destiny to become the King of Men. But what I like about Aragorn is that he is a supporting character in a story that he would be the hero in any other time it's been told. What is his most heroic moment? Drawing the Eye of the enemy away from our hero, and being prepared to sacrifice his life and the lives of his men to save the world.

Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) is, I've always felt, the true hero of the tale. He's not the ring bearer that Frodo is. He is not the destined king that Aragorn is. Sam is a humble gardener that follows Frodo into Hell on Earth. As Frodo himself points out, he wouldn't have gotten far without Sam. To me, what Sam symbolizes is that no one hero can or will triumph over hero all by himself. Defeating evil requires that we all do our part, whether it's a little or a lot. Sam did, well, a lot. Were it not for him, Frodo would have been eaten by Shelob and the One Ring would have returned to Sauron, and Sauron would have destroyed the world of men and dominated all life for the rest of eternity.

And then there is Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellan), who serves the ever critical role of rallying us and teaching us to rise up and finally defeat Sauron. This was his task, like an angelic mentor. He can help us, and does help us, but ultimately he cannot win this war for us. Nor could he. But an angel in the body of an old wizard who is that father figure we all want to have. My favorite scene with Gandalf is not the one where he faces the Balrog, but when Frodo volunteers to take the Ring to Mount Doom. The look on his face says it all, like a father who's hearing that his son enlisted to go fight in a world war, wishing it didn't have to be, but knowing it has to be done.

The rest of the supporting characters are terrific. I really enjoyed John Rhys-Davies as Gimi, the dwarf. Orlando Bloom was adequate as Legolas, the elf (and on a personal note, the only role I ever enjoyed him in). Merry and Pippen (Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd) were great comic relief that really got to grow into courageous heroes as the story progressed. And what can I say about Sean Bean as Boromir? Some would say his was the finest performance in the entire trilogy, and I would be hard pressed to argue even though I think everyone was terrific. And that's only the Fellowship!

The characters the Fellowship meet along the way also make this movie. Hugo Weaving as Elrond, who so desperately wants to have hope in men. Cate Blanchett was radiant as Galadriel, the white lady of Lothlorien. Bernard Hill as Theoden, king of Rohan. Miranda Otto as Eowyn, Karl Urban as Eomir, David Wenham as Faramir. John Noble as Denethor. As far as I'm concerned, these people didn't just play these characters, they were these characters. Never, not once did I think I was looking at actors playing iconic characters. They were here, brought to life.

I should also address Liv Tyler as Arwen Evenstar. To this day, she seems to be controversial. But, I don't agree with any of the negative comments that Arwen has received. It was all right there in the appendices. Tolkien, himself has said in his letters that he wished he included her more in the story, which is why he wrote "The Tale of Arwen and Aragorn" in the appendices. Yes, I am aware they were originally going to be more radical with the character, but they didn't do it. The final product is what matters, not what they thought about doing while they were in development. I enjoyed Liv Tyler as Arwen, and I would not change a single thing they did with her. That scene where she has that flash forward to the death of Aragorn is just sublime.

But how can I forget Andy Serkis as Gollum. They nailed him, this was Gollum. He was the greatest special effect in the history of film when these movies debuted, and now, ten years later, he still looks terrific. While I have my issues with the "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequels, I think only Davy Jones comes close to topping him. Aside from that, no Autobot, no Decepticon, no alien in a galaxy far, far away comes close. Of course, we can thank Andy Serkis for his performance that propelled Gollum from just being a special effect to being a real flesh and blood person, on the screen. The details may have been added in post production, but this was a performance. And like everyone else, I never thought of the actor, or the CG team. As far as I was concerned, Gollum was there, being the hateful and yet pitiful creature we've all come to know and love.

This being my blog, I wasn't going to let this go without discussing the forces of evil. It's hard to do evil on this scale with a straight face and not come off as laughable. George Lucas tried it in "Revenge of the Sith" and his Emperor Palpatine was an over the top embarrassment. But here, we had some honest to Eru high octane nightmare fuel.

I loved all the orcs, goblins and Uruk-hai. No two looked alike. Any we spent even a small amount of time with were their own characters. They seemed like an actual savage, barbaric race. Never once did I feel like I was watching a legion of faceless bad guys. I was also really happy that these were actors and stuntmen in costume, as opposed to CGI creations. The foot soldiers of darkness get a thumb's up from me.

If I don't mention Christopher Lee as Saruman the White, I am afraid he might hurt me. As with everyone else, this was perfect casting. Saruman was a terrific villain, and served as a good face of evil throughout the first two movies, and the first twenty minutes of the third. As in the book, his greatest weapon was his voice. Well, who better to project a menacing, eloquent, charismatic voice than Christopher Lee?

The Balrog was a one scene wonder, but a great one. Now, I am usually not a fan of all CGI creations if they can be done any other way. The Balrog couldn't. And the moment it appeared, we were all in awe. If Hell exists and demons dwell in it, I am pretty sure this is what they look like. They created something primal here, and I loved every second of it.

Speaking of primal fears, you can't get more primal than Shelob. As if being a giant spider is bad enough, she is a cold, intelligent, force of evil. A killing machine from the darkest depths of your nightmares. If I hadn't gotten over my arachnophobia before this movie came out, Shelob might have been almost enough to bring it back. She certainly warranted the loudest reactions from the audience every time I watched these movies in theaters.

When I read the books, the Black Riders were always a powerful image. As such I was happy to see how these Nazgul, these Ringwraiths were executed on screen. Exactly as I always imagined them. From their black cloaks and horses, to their winged Fell Beasts. And the Witch King of Angmar? Were I a Dark Lord, I would want him as my lieutenant.

The theatrical release may have forgotten the Mouth of Sauron (Bruce Spence), but the extended editions didn't, and neither will I. His scene was short, but oh so sweet. I loved his design, and that helmet. I will admit, I always wanted to know more about this guy. I know Sauron had lots of humans (Black Numenorians, Easterlings, and Haradrim) serving him, but this was the only one we got to actually "speak to."

And finally...


Evil's greatest servant. The Maiar spirit, Sauron. The Dark Lord. The titular Lord of the Rings. Except for the prologue, Sauron spends all of these movies as an unseen character. But we don't need to see him, everyone is always talking about him. Everyone is always talking about what he's capable of. What he's doing. What he's going to do. And how much worse it will be should he recover the One Ring. And considering how well he's doing without the Ring, the thoughts of how much worse it can possibly get are best not to think about for fear of depression. When I hear the word "evil," Sauron is who I always think of first. Evil perfected. Evil personified. He is what all the worst dictators throughout history have wanted to be. Thank god he's a only a fictional character. Even when all we see of him manifested is the Great Eye, he never descends into cartoonish evil. You can really feel how dark and powerful he is, even when all we hear are whispers of his name. The One Ring itself is a character and a villain in this movie, but it is an extension of Sauron, and a constant reminder of his evil. 

But I can't just leave this with only brief summaries of the characters. How about that New Zealand countryside? Or, as I like to think of it: Middle Earth. Middle Earth is real and Peter Jackson and his crew found it and filmed it. The scenery is breathtaking. More beautiful than anything that can be created by man in a computer. Some time in my life, I plan to visit New Zealand. I am a big city urban guy, but if any countryside has caught me with its majestic beauty, it's New Zealand's.

I also appreciate all the miniatures of the cities, towers, and fortresses that were built. All the practical effects that were used in addition to CG. This series was the perfect marriage of the two techniques, and they still hold up today. As opposed to other productions that rely on CGI and CGI alone and look only like Playstation 2 games now.

The movies also captured the themes of the books perfectly. Hope, friendship, love and death. The classic story of good vs evil, and what must be sacrificed to defeat evil. It wasn't a Hollywood production, even if it was financed by Hollywood, and we're better off for that. War has cost, and that cost has to be painful. Otherwise it's not real. And even with elves, wizards, goblins, and trolls, your story still has to be real. You give me a hero and I'll show you someone who has sacrificed everything. That's what this story is about, and I thank Peter Jackson for not dumbing it down.

Is it perfect? No. There are some places in the films where I felt a little more restraint would have been appreciated. But I feel like I am looking for the flaws in the brush strokes of the Mona Lisa by saying that. No, it's not perfect. But this is as close as it comes. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be horrified, you'll feel joy. It is a true journey. If you haven't seen them before, what are you waiting for? If you haven't seen them in a while, see them again. But make it the Extended Editions. This is a world and a story that isn't just a casual view, but something you'll want to immerse yourself in as you take a trip to another world.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Continuing to Pick on George Lucas

GEORGE LUCAS ADMITS TO INDY FRIDGE SCENE - Blame me, he says. Okay, we will

The fridge scene is the least of the movie's problems.

The golden rule with action movies is that if you're having fun, you don't care about pesky facts, logic or science getting in the way. The real problems were things like pace, motivation of characters, that no-one has any affection for Shia LeBouef, and most of all that the movie just has no heart.

What makes "Raiders of the Lost Ark" such a great movie is that it's an action adventure where you actually care about the characters. What's Raiders really about? No, not the Ark of the Covenant. It's about these two people who loved one another, well if not wisely, coming together. That's what people like Lucas and Michael Bay just don't get. You can have all the giant robots and explosions and massive CG spaceships, but at the core of it all, you've got to care about the characters and the story. That's why films like "Lord of the Rings," the first two "Star Wars" films, "Aliens," "Jaws," and "Wrath of Khan" are still watchable today.

Lucas apologists can babble all they want about "Lucas Derangement Syndrome" but the reality is the guy hasn't made a movie with a heart since at least the 80's. How many times can he have major influence whether producing or directing on terrible films before people finally admit he's lost his touch as a storyteller?

Oh, and by the way. "Red Tails" is currently at 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. The reviews read like every other Lucas film of the last few decades:

"When the heroes crash, they go up in blazes of digital glory that seem just as artificial as the plotting that brought them to their fates."

"More often than not, Red Tails feels like it's pandering to every focus group that it never even tested... It's so cautious as to be lifeless, which is a shame on a lot of levels."

"Lucas' clout may have brought this important story to the screen, but his filmmaking shortcomings keep it from being told effectively."

These reviews could read like the reviews for Phantom Menace or Indy 4 or even Howard the Duck.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Paradise Lost




Recently I read "Paradise Lost." Actually, I read it twice. In a row. I had read it a number of years ago, but I really wanted to study it, just to make sure I wasn't crazy. I think it's a terrific poem. A true epic. However, I think John Milton was trying to get a certain message across that he failed to properly convey. I believe he was trying to write an evil villain, but wrote an antihero instead.

Milton tries to make Satan's declaration that God is a tyrant untrue because it's Satan who says it, but reading the God books of "Paradise Lost" kind of makes God look like a tyrant all on its own. So Milton's experiment to make clear the ways of God toward man failed. Satan, when he's soliloquizing without anyone to tempt, expresses his wish that he could change, but he was made the way he was, so it was God's creation that made Satan so proud.

I don't buy the argument that it was intentional to show that men were fallen people. Why make your message so covered up in man's sin that it's mistaken for truth? He may not have meant to, but Milton's Satan was a humanist. He was the hero of "Paradise Lost" who rebelled against injustice and who brought knowledge to the humans, like Prometheus gave fire to humans. He is a lot easier to relate to and possesses many heroic qualities ("I'd rather suffer in hell than be a slave in heaven"). This led William Blake to write that Milton is "a true Poet, and of the Devil's party without knowing it."

Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea about me, because I know religion is a touchy subject, I am not a Satan worshiper of any kind. I don't worship anything. I like to think of myself as a hopeful agnostic, and I don't want anyone to feel like I am slandering their religious beliefs. But I read "Paradise Lost" cover to cover twice, and this was the interpretation I took away from it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

George Lucas Is a Retard


Or, George Lucas Plays the Race Card Brilliantly

George Lucas made another movie. A movie that, for once, doesn't involve lightsabers or archaeologists with whips. It's called "Red Tails" and it's about a crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II.
Let's quote the man, shall we?

“We’ve been working on it 23 years. I financed it myself, and I figured I could get the prints and ads paid for by the studios, and that they would release it, and I showed it to all of them, and they said noooo. ‘We don’t know how to market a movie like this.’
“It’s because it’s an all-black movie. There’s no major white roles in it at all. It’s one of the first, all-black action pictures ever made."

Really, George? Really?!


Not to mention:

Bad Boys
Shaft
Dead Presidents
Miracle at Santa Anna
Set It Off
Glory
Buffalo Soldiers
Posse


Have you been to a movie at all in the last forty years? Are you that cut off? Newsflash, we have a black President now. But maybe you don't know that. You're still the fucktard who gave us Jar Jar Binks! You know, an annoying racist caricature.

Actual dialogue in the heat of a dogfight: "Congratulations, [character name]! You're the first Negro to ever kill an enemy in air combat." (or something like that) That's some great screenwriting there, George. Nice to see you haven't gotten any better. As a great man once said, "George, you can type this shit, but you sure as hell can't say it."

George Lucas is either a liar, or he's stupid. Personally, I think the answer is both. Remember when he told everyone he has nine "Star Wars" movies all mapped out? We, of course, all know this is bullshit. Hell he didn't even know Darth Vader was Luke's father until Leigh Brackett came up with the idea, died before the movie came out and was no longer alive to contradict you.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Five Questions

1. Greatest Movie You've Ever Seen


Easily "Casablanca." I know it's a cliche to say this, but that doesn't make it any less true.

2. Worst Movie You've Ever Seen


"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." Words cannot describe the loathing I feel towards this abomination of a movie.

3. Favorite Movie Trilogy


"The Lord of the Rings." Particularly, the Extended Edition. I recently re-watched it all on Blu-ray, and it's still thrilling. Maybe a retrospective review is in order.

4. Most Overrated Movie You've Ever Seen


The "Star Wars Trilogy." To this day I don't understand the pandemonium. I just don't. The first one is okay. Flawed, fun, but nothing special at all. "The Empire Strikes Back" is easily the best one, and I like it, it's good. But it's hardly great cinema. "Return of the Jedi" was terrible, and the prequels are among the worst movies ever made.

5. Favorite filmmakers of all time


Oh, this one is tough. I'd love to say Francis Ford Coppola for the first two "Godfather" movies and "Apocalypse Now" but the rest of his filmmography doesn't do it for me.
Martin Scorsese is an easy favorite, I think.
I also like David Fincher and Christopher Nolan a lot.
Akira Kurosawa is a no-brainer.
Quentin Tarantino may not be for everyone, but his films are definitely for me.
Roman Polanski is a gifted artist, but a terrible person.
I love Steven Spielberg when he makes movies for grown ups, but hate crap like "E.T." and "Jurassic Park."
I've attended Federico Fellini film festivals and always enjoyed them.
Alfred Hitchcock is truly the master.
Krzysztof Kieslowski, especially for "The Decalogue." But that's really more of a "film cycle" than a film itself.

One More Time...

Woman Claims Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails Told Her to Burn Her Parents' House Down

Christina Paz says she learnt her parents wanted to kill her through rock music messages

Music does not force sane people to do anything. Neither does the television, the radio, posters, books, or any other form of media. Influence, perhaps... but not control.

If you believe you're being controlled by any form of media to perform an action, if you believe that music is talking to you directly, or that the glowing screen is your master, or that you've decoded a hidden message in "Catcher In The Rye" that requires you to strangle exactly eleven strangers to appease Zuul... see a licensed psychiatric professional. Please.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Santorum


I promise that politics is not going to become a regular, or even a frequent recurring feature on this blog. But this needs to be spread.


Supporting a candidate who opposes marriage equality is supporting a candidate who opposes American values. It violates freedom of religion. It violates equality under law. It violates the right to privacy.

You don't want gay marriage in your church: go for it. I support that 100%. You don't want to associate with folks who are homosexual: go for it. I support your right to associate with folks of your choosing. The problem lies in when you ask the state to step in and demand that everyone support that choice. It is against American principles. To be fair: I think that the bans on homosexual marriage are unconstitutional. Under freedom of religion. Under equal protection under the law. It is likewise against the vision of smaller government imprint in our lives, which is supposed to be the hallmark of American principles.


We have a sickness in the party, and the support of Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, Catholics and Mormons who oppose marriage equality under religious grounds is in violation of the supposed stalwart attempts to a strict Constitutionalist interpretation of our governance. Every time you tout states' rights, that means that you should be supporting states that have decided enough is enough, and if the Federal government won't get off its butt and take this all the way to the Supreme Court to strike down these gross violations of citizens' rights.


The party of LIncoln should in no way, shape, or form be a supporter of limiting citizens' rights. And that so many leap to abrogate their responsibility to freedom of religion... that means that folks are free from other folks' interpretations of what their faith ought to be... it angers me, because that isn't the Americanism I was brought up on. It shames me, and it shames the nation.


Freedom of religion means that sometimes folks do things you don't like. But so long as it's not in your church, then it's none of your damn business.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thanksgiving With the Santorum Family!


For a while now, I thought there was something very familiar about the Santorum family. Creepily familiar. Then I remember that all of America got to join them for Thanksgiving dinner a couple of years ago.

Tonight, the part of Rick Santorum will be played by John Lithgow.



Spread this, please. Spread this!

Jobs Are Jobs...

And people are people.

Recently, I've seen Rooney Mara, who has achieved critical acclaim for her role in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," come under some fire for giving her candid opinion on working on remake of "The Nightmare on Elm Street." That candid opinion was less than kind, as was her candid opinion of working on "Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit."

This is nothing new. I've seen Ewan McGreggor get some crap for trashing the Star Wars prequels. He was hoping they'd be better movies than they were, was a big fan of the original, and was as disappointed as anybody with good taste was. I will admit, while watching "Revenge of the Sith" I felt sad for McGreggor. Not because of Obi Wan's plight, but because he was trying so hard to make the best of a shitty movie. Look at his face, you can tell what he really thought of everything.

What do I see people say in response to sentiments like this? Usually they're called ungrateful, or even advised to give back the money they made off of these movies. Well, I think anyone who does this has forfeited the right to complain to anybody about their first job at Walmart or at McFastFood. Or are they also ungrateful? Should they not return the money they made working at either of these establishments? Or at any job they've expressed to others that they hated?

Or do these people just like the Star Wars prequels, the Nightmare remake, or any other movies or shows that would apply and can't stand to see anyone trash them, much less an actor who worked on them? Personally, I think this is the case.

Consider Robert Pattinson, who plays Edward Cullen in the "Twilight" movies. He has publicly expressed his hatred for the characters, for "Twilight" and said that Stephanie Meyer is insane. Where are these same people to say he is ungrateful, or that he should return all the millions of dollars he's made off of the Twilight franchise. No where to be found. If anything, the same people will congratulate him for telling it like it is. Why? Because they hate "Twilight" therefore it's okay for Robert Pattinson to hate. I've also noticed the people who love "Twilight" like to claim that Robert Pattinson never said such things, and that it's fake.

The point is, everyone is entitled to their opinion. And everyone is entitled to express that opinion if they are willing to live with the consequences. Ewan McGreggor, Rooney Mara, and even Robert Pattinson are also entitled to that right. Sometimes it can backfire, as Megan Fox learned last year... but no one denied her the right to speak her mind. And I certainly would never expect her to give back the money she made working on two terrible movies.

Would I be happy if Marina Sirtis came out tomorrow and said "Gargoyles" was a terrible production, and Demona was a poorly conceived character? No. Would I tell her to shut up, that she's being ungrateful, and to give Disney back the money she made playing Demona? No.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Movies



I did not get to the movies as often as I would have liked to this year. But I thought I would muse on what I did see, and give overall grades since with the passing of time, I was able to reflect on them.

Black Swan


This movie was and remains magnificent. I know it didn't come out in 2011, but I didn't see it before 2011, so I'm counting it here.

It was an A+ movie when I first saw it, and it still is.

The King's Speech


Same as Black Swan, I didn't see it before 2011. Yes, it is very good. But it certainly didn't deserve last year's award for Best Picture. That was "Black Swan." But, "Speech" was the safe bet as opposed to the dark, disturbing "Black Swan." Still, I give it an A-

Thor


It was a very fun movie when I first saw it, and it still is a very fun movie. Chris Hemsworth was great. Tom Hiddleston was great, and it left me pumped for "The Avengers." Ultimately, as much as I enjoyed it, I didn't care for Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, and subsequent re-watches make that particular plot even worse. It's not enough to ruin the movie for me, but overall, I give it a B+

X-Men First Class


I expected this to suck. We all expected it to suck. But it didn't. If anything, it was the pleasant surprise of the year. I liked the script, I liked most of the casting, and I thought our two leads were great, especially Michael Fassbender as Magneto. Kevin Bacon was having a great time as Sebastian Shaw. But I didn't care for January Jones as Emma Frost. Overall, I give this one an A-

Transformers: Dark of the Moon


It's more of the same. A Transformers movie directed by Michael Bay. We all know what these are by now. F. Fail!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two


This movie had to deliver. Ten years after the first movie hit theaters, a lot was riding on this. Deliver it did. Very well done, the cast was great. The effects were great. It was great. I give it a solid A.

Captain America: The First Avenger


This one took time to grow on me. The first time I watched it, I did not have a good time. Honestly, I think it was the 3D and the horrible audience I saw it with. But time and subsequent viewings have gotten a change of heart from me. I've since seen it for a fourth time, and it's really grown on me. My initial grade was a C- but now, I give it a B+. It's not without problems, but it's grown on me.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows


My review is barely a week old. Still, this one is an F. Hell, I think I'll go out and give it an F- just for being worse than Michael Bay's flaming sack of dog crap.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


Best film I saw all year. A+! A+! A+! But I suspect it will suffer the fate of "Black Swan." It will be nominated for the big prize, and cast aside for the safe choice. I just wish it was making more money than it is. But, when you market it as "The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas," I suppose that is to be expected. Still.... A+

Now that it's 2012, I plan on seeing even more movies. I have high hopes for 2012.