Archive for Nick Frost

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Freya the Ice Queen (Emily Blunt) brings her sister Ravenna (Charlize Theron) back to life, and the powerful evil siblings plan to conquer the Enchanted Forest. Only the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and his secret lover Sara (Jessica Chastain) can stop them in this sequel continuing the inventive twist on the Snow White fable.

What people are saying:

The Huntsman: Winter’s War is visually arresting and boasts a stellar cast, but neither are enough to recommend this entirely unnecessary sequel” 2.5 stars

“When people gripe about Hollywood’s reliance on sequels and cheap franchise cash-ins, this is the kind of movie they mean: no Grimm’s Fairy Tale, but a grim tale nonetheless.” 2 stars

“Visually beautiful with all kinds of now-typical fantasy action, “The Huntsman” is that pretty but dumb date we all wanted, but knew wouldn’t be good for very long. I enjoyed it for what it was, and truly the visual effects are stunning and creative, but the plot was paper-thin (even as the writers tried to contrive a complicated story by pushing a lot of plot lines in quick sequence).” 3 stars

“If you can get past Chris Hemsworths terrible Scottish accent this is a lot better than the Snow White film. I suspect that’s mainly down to the lack of the abysmal Kristen Stewart. This is quite fun and pretty to look at (I’m including Mr Hemsworth in that), and Sheridan Smith, Nick Frost and Rob Bryden add some much needed comedy element! ” 3 stars

“The Huntsman: Winter’s War is an unnecessary sequel that wastes its talented cast. Why did these actors do this movie? They are all better than this. Chris Hemsworth and Jessica Chastain are only in this for the paycheck. Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron overdo it as the villains. Thankfully, Theron camps it up with her performance, making her performance the most fun to watch. Unfortunately, there isn’t any emotional attachment to these characters. You just don’t care about them. The plot is generic and boring. The script is terrible. They try to do humor in this film, and it fails miserably. The action is fine, but it just isn’t exciting. Overall, there really isn’t any point to this movie. These excellent actors are trapped in a movie with a lazy script and dull action.” 1 1/2 stars

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Unfinished Business

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on November 27, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

A hard-working small business owner (Vince Vaughn) and his two associates (Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco) travel to Europe to close the most important deal of their lives. But what began as a routine business trip goes off the rails in every imaginable – and unimaginable – way, including unplanned stops at a massive sex fetish event and a global economic summit.

What people are saying:

“If you’re a female I can see why you would hate this movie. But from a male’s perspective I actually enjoyed it. It has plenty of dark humor, but I still managed to find myself laughing throughout the entire movie and the storyline kept me interested. There were even some parts of this movie that had me wishing I was there.” 3 stars

“It was a mediocre movie but it really had its moments. Dave Franco character being my favourite, Vince Vaughn did his usual to the best of his ability, with Wilkinson being a third wheel. Franco made this movie for me, otherwise its only slightly amusing.” 3 stars

“A few cheap laughs thru out the film. It’s one of those films that you really want to like, but reality sets in, you realize what being in denial is all about. The plot is cookie cutter Hollywood story, the story isn’t really all there. So at the very least, deliver some hearty character interaction, dervelopment, & turn your head gags. Sadly the characters are all one dimensional from start to finish. The funny moments are few, the back stories & growth are limited, & it goes on longer than it should have.” 2 stars

“Not a great movie. It seemed to be divided between business, partying, and bullying is bad. Vince Vaughn did fine, but not all the acting was great. For example, the evil female Chuck wasn’t very hate-able. The movie just seemed confused about what type of movie to be. Not recommended.” 2 1/2 stars

“Totally completely FLAT from beginning to end. There’s nothing worse than a comedy that repeats the same unfunny jokes over and over and over and over and over again. Very disappointing.” 1 star

The Boxtrolls

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In the European town of Cheesebridge, rumors abound that subterranean trolls known as Boxtrolls kidnap and kill young children. Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) strikes a deal with Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris), offering to exterminate every Boxtroll in exchange for membership in the White Hats, a group of cheese lovers led by Lord Portley-Rind that serves as the town council.

The Boxtrolls prove to be peaceful creatures, wearing cardboard boxes, who emerge from underground at night to scavenge through the trash for items they can use in their inventions. A baby boy named Eggs lives among them, cared for by a Boxtroll named Fish (Dee Bradley Baker). As he grows up over a period of ten years, Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) learns that the population slowly decreases due to being captured by Snatcher.

Lord Portley-Rind’s neglected daughter Winnie (Elle Fanning) grows frustrated at being ignored and throws his white hat out a window. Leaving the house to retrieve it, she sees Eggs rummaging through trash with two Boxtrolls. Snatcher and his men chase the trio and capture Fish. Devastated, Eggs puts together a disguise and sneaks back up to the surface to find him. Eggs emerges in the midst of an annual fair to commemorate the disappearance of the Trubshaw Baby eleven years earlier – presumably kidnapped and killed by Boxtrolls. Disgusted by the town’s inaccurate portrayal of the creatures, he follows Winnie away from the fair. She recognizes him as the boy she saw the previous night and directs him to Snatcher’s headquarters, an abandoned factory.

Sneaking into the factory, Eggs finds Fish locked in a cage and frees him. Meanwhile, Snatcher holds a cheese tasting with his men Mr. Gristle (Tracy Morgan), Mr. Trout (Nick Frost), and Mr. Pickles (Richard Ayoade) as preparation for becoming a White Hat, but proves ironically to be allergic to cheese, causing his entire body to swell. Eggs and Fish try to sneak out of the factory only to be caught by Mr. Gristle. Snatcher recognizes Eggs as the Trubshaw Baby and reveals that all the captured Boxtrolls are still alive and building a machine. Winnie overhears this exchange upon having followed Eggs to the factory. They and Fish escape from Snatcher and take shelter in the Boxtrolls’ underground cavern.

Winnie is surprised to learn the truth about the Boxtrolls, and convinces Eggs that he is not one of them. His father had given him to them as a baby in order to keep him safe from Snatcher. Winnie agrees to help Eggs tell Portley-Rind the truth. At a ball that night, Eggs narrowly avoids capture by a disguised Snatcher and inadvertently knocks a giant cheese wheel down the stairs so that it rolls into a river. Eggs announces himself to the crowd as the Trubshaw Baby, but no one believes him and Lord Portley-Rind throws him out in a fury over losing his beloved cheese.

Eggs returns to the cavern and tries to persuade the remaining Boxtrolls that they need to flee for their own safety. Snatcher digs into the cavern using his machine, captures the entire group, and takes them back to the factory. Eggs, imprisoned in a cage in the basement, awakens to find his real father Herbert Trubshaw (Simon Pegg) hanging upside down next to him when it turns out that he was held captive for years by Snatcher. He sees the Boxtrolls stacked in a crusher and begs them to run, but the crusher activates and flattens all the boxes.

Snatcher drives his machine to Lord Portley-Rind’s house, shows him the flattened boxes as proof of the Boxtrolls’ deaths, and demands Portley-Rind’s white hat once he kills the last one (actually Eggs dressed up as a Boxtroll). Winnie persuades Mr. Trout and Mr. Pickles to redeem themselves by not killing Eggs. The Boxtrolls suddenly arrive with Trubshaw, having sneaked out of their boxes just before the crusher activated, and free Eggs. An infuriated Snatcher tries to take Portley Rind’s hat by force, but Eggs, his father, and the Boxtrolls disable the machine. Eggs and Snatcher are thrown clear, hitting the giant cheese wheel as it is pulled out of the river, and Snatcher swells into a grotesque giant and forces Lord Portley-Rind to give up his hat. Snatcher triumphantly enters the cheese tasting room, but unconcerned about his allergy, explodes after taking one bite.

The townspeople no longer see the Boxtrolls as monsters and come to live peacefully with them. Winnie tells the tale of Snatcher’s end to a crowd of people, while Eggs and Fish drive off in one of his father’s contraptions

REVIEW:

Is it me, or has this year been a little light on the family faire? What little there had been hasn’t exactly lit the box office on fire. Hopefully, The Boxtrolls will change that fact, or at least provide an alternative to the revenge flick that is The Equalizer and the horror-comedy Tusk (in the areas where it is still showing). Can this British kiddie flick charm enough adults to bring them back for more?

What is this about?

THE BOXTROLLS are a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs in the amazing cavernous home they’ve built beneath the streets of a city called Cheesebridge. The story is about a young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors who tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator, the town’s villain, Archibald Snatcher. When Snatcher comes up with a plot to get rid of the Boxtrolls. Eggs decides to venture above ground and “into the light,” where he meets and teams up with fabulously feisty Winnie. Together, they devise a daring plan to save The BoxTrolls family.

What did I like?

Stop motion surprised. This is stop motion animation. If you are an avid reader of this blog, then you know how much I turn into a drooling fanboy when it comes to stop motion, so no need to say that I liked the fact that it is stop motion and not CG. However, there is something about the animation that I have to mention. About midway through the credits scene, two of the henchmen start talking and one of them says something along the lines of, “what if someone was controlling us?” The camera pans back and you can see one of the sculptor animators working on him. I found that to be totally awesome and I don’t believe anyone has ever done this before, at least outside of Rey Herryhausen documentaries or stop motion classes.

Trolls. The Boxtrolls don’t speak in anything more than grunts and random sounds, and yet they have just as much life in them as the humans, perhaps more. I didn’t catch on at first, but they are named for the kind of box they are wearing. For instance, one of them wears a box marked “Fragile”, thus his name is Fragile. As far as the personality of each is concerned, they show heart and innocence that makes you care for them, even perhaps shuddering when something nearly happens to them near the film’s end. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that it is life threatening for them.

Henchmen conflict. “Good always triumphs over evil.” “We’re the good guys, right?” These are a couple of conflicting thoughts that the henchmen, well 2 of them, wonder about as the film goes on and they commit more and more heinous acts toward the Boxtrolls and nearly kill some humans! We’ve all wondered about how henchmen join up, I’m sure. Before the Star Wars prequels, I wondered were all the Strom Troopers came from. This is the first time, though, that I can recall henchmen actually questioning what they are doing, even if they have apparently been tricked into thinking Boxtrolls are evil. It makes for some interesting conversation between the two and gives them character, rather than brainless yes men.

What didn’t  I like?

Girl. The film is moving along at a nice pace, the audience is moving along at a nice pace and then BAM! We are introduced to an annoying little girl with a smart mouth and a penchant for death, apparently. For me, things would have been so much better without her, as she does nothing to make her forced entry into the goings on worthwhile. The best way I can describe her is when Arcee was brought in to the 80s Transformers cartoon. The only reason she existed was for the female fans. I believe this little girl exists for something similar, just so little girls can have a female presence on the screen.

Design. While I do love the animation of this film, I wasn’t too pleased with the design of the characters. These are some ugly human beings. The Boxtrolls actually look better. Now, when I say that, I am speaking from an attractiveness angle and not aesthetically. I know that British people are stereotypically known for having horrible teeth, but good grief! Also, the upper crust of this town sure didn’t look any different from those that lived in the slums. How is that?!? Think about Rango for a minute. The animals in there are horrible looking, yes, but remember that is a bit of a western and they have that dirty, dusty western look that many people had in westerns (unless they were a major character). The same kind of thought process should have been used with these people. It appears that this was set in the Victorian era, so make the people look like that, rather than sewer rats in nice clothes!

Importance of cheese. Cheese, oh wondrous cheese! I love cheese, be it by the slice, on a sandwich, toast, burger, or in block form, but I have nothing on the people in this town. Wow! They take cheese to a whole new level. Up until now, I thought the most cheese obsessed character was Monterey Jack from Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers, but he has nothing on out villain Archibald Sinister, who ironically has some kind of allergy to the stuff. What I find most appalling, though, is how cheese takes precedence over the hideous little girl, for the leader of the White Hat society, and apparent mayor of the town. Can we say problem?

When I first heard about The Boxtrolls, I thought it was going to be some light, fun flick, but this turned out to be far from the truth. This is a fairly dark film, but it has its cute moments. Recently, I rewatched Mary and Maxand it had the same tone, if you will. The voice cast is outstanding, though I couldn’t help but think of Moss from The IT Crowd everytime I heard Richard Ayoade’s voice. Both kids and adults will find something that appeals to them. In the theater I was in tonight, the little kids were cracking up through a lot of it, so there you go. Do I recommend this? Yes, very much so. It is most definitely worth a watch!

4 out of 5 stars

The World’s End

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Gary King, a middle-aged recovering drug addict, resolves to track down his estranged friends and complete the “Golden Mile”, a pub crawl encompassing 12 pubs in their hometown of Newton Haven. The group attempted the crawl as teenagers over 20 years earlier, but failed to reach the final pub, The World’s End. Gary persuades Peter Page, Oliver “O-Man” Chamberlain, Steven Prince, and Andy Knightley to join him in Newton Haven.

After arriving in Newton Haven, the group are briefly joined for a drink by Oliver’s sister Sam, over whose affections Gary and Steven had previously rivalled. In the toilets of the fourth pub, Gary gets into a fight with a surprisingly strong and agile teenager. Gary accidentally knocks the teen’s head off, exposing him as a robot. Gary’s friends join him and fight more robots, after which Andy abandons his teetotal ways and drinks an order of shots. The group decide to continue the pub crawl to avoid suspicion.

Several pubs later, the group runs into Sam again and Gary warns her of the robot invasion. Though skeptical of the news at first, Sam is convinced after Gary saves her from twin robots impersonating her friends. At The Mermaid, robots impersonating attractive girls from their youth attempt to seduce the men and steal their DNA. When Sam’s childhood crush Adrian appears, she panics and drags the others from the pub, explaining that Adrian had died in a motorcycle crash years previously. When they reach the next pub, Guy Shepherd, a teacher from the group’s secondary school, encourages them to accept their fate and be replaced by robots. Noticing the reappearance of a surgically removed birthmark on Oliver’s head, Andy realises that he has been replaced with a robot, and crushes his head. A fight breaks out, and the group scatters as Gary convinces Sam to leave.

Once reunited, the friends accuse each other of having been replaced by robots. Steven, Peter and Andy prove their humanity, but Gary refuses to roll his sleeves up to reveal a scar on his elbow, and instead repeatedly head-butts a pillar to prove that his skull is tougher than those of the robots. The robots close in on the group and capture Peter. Despite this, Gary is determined to finish the pub crawl and after having a drink at the other two pubs along the way, runs towards the final one on their list, The World’s End. Abandoning Steven, Andy chases Gary through the streets.

At The World’s End, Andy confronts Gary. During an ensuing quarrel, Andy notices that Gary’s wrists are bandaged and marked with a hospital armband, indicating that Gary had attempted suicide and thus explaining why he refused to show his arms earlier. Andy tries to stop Gary from drawing his final pint, but Gary manages to pull the tap lever. The bar lowers into a hidden chamber, where the two are reunited with Steven. A disembodied alien entity called The Network reveals that the robot invasion of the town is one of 2,000 “penetration points” on Earth, and that it had been responsible for all of humanity’s advances in telecommunications in recent decades. The Network then offers the men eternal youth should they choose to become robots, but they decline, belligerently arguing that humans should be allowed to be free. The Network, defeated, ceases communication and abandons the invasion. Sam arrives to drive the trio to relative safety as the town begins to self-destruct.

Some time later, Andy recounts this story around a campfire in the ruins of London, explaining how the destruction of Newton Haven was accompanied by a worldwide electro-magnetic pulse that wiped out modern technology and set humanity back to the Dark Ages. The remaining robots have reactivated and are regarded with mistrust by surviving humans. Andy’s marriage has recovered, Steven is in a relationship with Sam, and robot versions of Peter and Oliver have returned to a semblance of their former lives. In the ruins of Newton Haven, the now-sober Gary enters a pub with the younger robot versions of his friends and orders five glasses of water, reprising his speech from the start of the Golden Mile. When the bartender refuses to serve any robots, Gary draws a sword and leads his robot friends into a brawl.

REVIEW:

Bringing the “Three Flavors Cornetto” Trilogy to an end, we have The World’s End. I honestly can’t remember anything about Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, other than the fact that I’ve seen them and that some weird stuff goes down in them both. Keeping that spirit alive, this film manages to pull out all the stops, except for blowing the planet up.

What is this about?

Twenty years after attempting a marathon pub crawl, a group of friends reunites to give it another shot. Their ultimate destination is the World’s End pub, whose name turns out to be rather literal.

What did I like?

Reunion. As someone who moved around a lot and never really had the chance to develop a close-knit group of friends, whenever I see reunions of friends and such, it really gets to me. Even though they treated Simon Pegg’s character like total crap, even though all he wants to do is get them back together and have a night drinking, it is still a plus to see old friends reunited.

Kickstart. After the characters are introduced and the plot set up, we finally get the film going. All it needed was a jolt of blue ink filled/powered robots and a brawl in a pub bathroom that resembled tag team mayhem in wrestling, only no hold barred. I wasn’t expecting the sci-fi action aspect of the film, but, considering how the film was going up to that point, I’m glad it was there.

What didn’t I like?

Pike’s peak. I don’t want to come off as a hater of Rosamund Pike, because I’m not. However, her character served no purpose in this film. I would say the she was eye candy, but that is what the “Marmalade sandwich” was for. Not to mention the fact that she was barely in it. To me, it seemed as if all she was there for was to throw a female in the mix.

Ink. We’ve seen all kinds of creatures, monsters, and whatnot in film during our time, correct? The color of blood in these beings runs the color spectrum, so the color that spewed forth from these robots wasn’t a big deal to me. However, the fact that it was revealed to be nothing more than ink bothered me. Had it been some kind of oil or other lubricant, it makes sense, but ink? How do you run a robot with ink?!?

Slow and steady. The beginning of this film is so slow that it makes you think you’re watching a serious drama. There are few to no jokes and the pacing is so slow that is nigh unbearable. As I said earlier, this is done to introduce the characters, but good gravy! Couldn’t they have found a better, more interesting way to do this, rather than force us to sit through this torture?

Remember last year when everyone was freaking out about how the world was going to end according to the Aztec calendar? Surprisingly, there weren’t too many apocalyptic movies that came out. They’ve all been coming out this year, and The World’s End is said to be the best. I think that I enjoyed This is the End a wee bit better. That being said, this isn’t a film to avoid. There are moments that are worth watching. Be warned, though, this is British humor, as opposed to American, so the tone is a little different. I don’t recommend this, but if you happen to catch it on the telly one day, give it a shot.

3 out of 5 stars

Ice Age: Continental Drift

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In an attempt to bury his acorn, Scrat inadvertently causes the break up of Pangaea. Meanwhile Manny and Ellie must deal with the trials and tribulations of their daughter Peaches, now a teenager desiring to fit in with her peers. Ellie is fine about that, but Manny becomes extremely over-protective. Peaches’ only friend is Louis, a molehog, tries to protect her as she tries to approach a mammoth named Ethan whom she has a crush on. Sid’s family returns, only long enough to drop off the elderly Granny before abandoning them both again. When Manny catches Peaches sneaking off to meet Ethan, they argue and fallout. Shortly afterward, a continental break-up separates Manny from the herd. Trapped on a moving chunk of ice with Sid and Diego, Manny has no choice but to ride out the current. Meanwhile a giant land shift encroaches on Ellie, Peaches, and those remaining on land, causing them make their way toward the land bridge.

At sea, violent weather pushes Manny and the others further away from land while Scrat, in a side adventure, finds an acorn that has a treasure map on it that directs him towards an island. Soon, after Manny, Sid, and Diego find Granny (who was sleeping inside a hollow tree stump, on the ice raft), they are captured by a band of pirates sailing on a floating iceberg as a ship led by a Gigantopithecus, Captain Gutt, who attempts to press gang them into his crew; when they refuse Gutt tries to make them walk the plank. Manny, Sid, Diego, Granny and Scrat (who was also taken captive) escape, but cause the ship to sink and Gutt’s first mate, a female sabertooth named Shira joins them out of no choice of her own.

They then find Switchback Cove, which has a current that would direct them home, but after washing ashore a remote island, Shira escapes and tells Gutt and the pirate crew (who are also on the island) of their whereabouts. Gutt, wanting revenge on Manny for sinking his ship, plans an attack. Along with the hyrax inhabitants of the island, Manny coordinates a plan to steal Gutt’s new ship to return home. Shira decides to leave Gutt, when she and Diego begin to fall in love, but she stays behind to ensure Gutt doesn’t catch the herd. Gutt and his pirates quickly make a new iceberg ship to sail after the herd, determined to get revenge. Meanwhile, Scrat, using one of the hyrax’s leaf “planes”, flies off the island, only to be swallowed by a shark.

Peaches finally begins to fit in with the mammoths her age, but accidentally insults Louis, who is referred to as a freak by the others, by saying they are not friends. When she sees the other teens’ careless disregard to the danger, she turns her back on them, warning that their extinction will come sooner than they think.

As they are sailing back, Diego, Sid, and Granny encounter monstrous sirens taking the shapes of what the group finds most attractive. Fortunately, Manny realizes this after hearing a siren, disguised as Ellie tell him something she would never say and saves them at the last second. Later, Scrat encounters a siren, taking on the shapes of Scratte (that Scrat ignores) then an acorn. Scrat immediately runs up and attempts to bury the “acorn”, but is attacked by other sirens and escapes unharmed.

Manny, Sid, Diego, and Granny soon return home only to find the land bridge destroyed in the earthquakes and Gutt and his crew made it there first and have captured Ellie and Peaches. Louis stands up for Peaches and a battle ensues between the herd and the pirates. Shira frees Ellie and helps fend off her former comrades, while Granny’s previously unseen (and claimed imaginary) pet whale, Precious, appears and turns the tables on the rest of the lot. Gutt then attempts to kill Ellie but Peaches, using her possum-like skills, manages to save her. Manny defeats Gutt in a duel and reunites with his family and friends. Later, Gutt encounters a siren taking on the shape of a female of his species and is eaten.With their home destroyed, the entire party and inhabitants then sail to an island that they found to settle down. Manny allows Peaches to “have an adventure” having gained a new respect for her and toward Louis. Shira joins the herd and becomes Diego’s girlfriend, while Louis becomes a hero among the teenage mammoths.

At the end of his journey, Scrat discovers the island on the map, know as Scratlantis (a mock up of Atlantis), but his uncontrollable urge to hunt acorns in the acorn-rich city inadvertently causes the entire island to sink and Scrat is ejected into what is now known as Death Valley.

REVIEW:

I have issues with films that just release sequels for the sake of making money, as opposed to telling a good story. My feelings toward such films turns to rage and hatred when it seems as if each film gets worse. Ice Age: Continental Drift is said by many critics to be the best of a series that should have died along with the dinosaurs.

What is this about?

The animated Ice Age series tacks on a game-changing fourth act when unexpected events set the continent in motion, sending Manny (voiced by Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary) and Sid (John Leguizamo) away from Ellie (Queen Latifah) and the herd and into the vastness of the open sea. The world around them is forever changed, but at least one thing remains the same: their ability to make the most of extreme climate change.

What did I like?

Pirates. I hear everyone raving about Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones, but I’ve only seen one episode since we don’t have HBO. I best know him as Simon Barsinister in Underdog and the male nanny in a few episodes of Nip/Tuck. The guy has some real acting chops, as he puts on display here as the pirate captain Gutt. Truth be told, I don’t remember much of the other Ice Age films, but Gutt and the other pirates are something to remember about this film, a much needed shot in the arm. Someone should consider a spinoff!

Scrat. A lot of people would argue that Scrat is the best thing about this franchise. You’ll get no argument from me. The things this little squirrel does just to get that acorn are highlights of the film. I just wish there was more of them, and not just what equates to a bunch of shorts featuring him.

Animation. Going back to the first Ice Age and comparing the animation to this one, it is quite obvious that two things have happened. Technology has advanced quite a ways and the animators have gotten better at what they do, because this is some gorgeous computer animation, which is saying something coming from me, someone who isn’t a fan of CG.

What didn’t I like?

Too many. It seems like in each film, they keep adding on characters. At some point, they just need to stop because, as we can see here, it hard to give each of them decent screen time. Take for instance, Ellie, she was just left over on land with her daughter, who had her own little story going on. If not for some motherly advice moments, she probably wouldn’t have been seen until the very end, if at all, once we got past that point. All the little ancillary characters that we saw in previous films and had actual relevance are there in the beginning and show up at the end as if they were a major part of the production, but up to that moment, who really even thought about them?

Rappers do not equal actors. Rappers Nicki Minaj and Drake somehow managed to get cast in this. Nicki Minaj is quickly making her way up my most hated list, mainly because she has no talent and is on a show judging singers (when she’s supposedly a rapper). Her lines were painful to listen to, but I think has I seen this before this season of American Idol started, the images of her “judging” wouldn’t be so ingrained in m head that I can’t give her fair judgement. Drake on the other hand was actually an actor at one time. It came to attention this week that he had a fairly major role in the Canadian teen drama Degrassi: Next Generation. The guy has talent, I just don’t think this was the right role for him. Sure he’s not Lil’ Wayne or Wiz Khalifa, but he still doesn’t exactly scream clean-cut, family entertainer. On that point, go back to when Queen Latifah was a rapper, and you could’ve said that same thing about her.

Stagnant. For me, this film felt a lot like a franchise that is stuck in neutral. It wants to keep going, but doesn’t know how to kick it into the next gear. Personally, I think the way this ended would be a way to end the franchise (same can be said for the others, I’m sure). If they want this to keep going, then do it with new characters. It is high time Manny, Sid, Diego, & company are put to rest. Of course, it will be just our luck that these films keep going, forgetting what they were originally about, and the next thing we know there are about 50 sequels that no one cares about. Seriously, all those sequels to The Land Before Time did was tarnish the legacy of the original…and I believe they are still making those things!!!

Is Ice Age: Continental Drift the best of the franchise? Perhaps, but as I stated earlier, I can barely remember anything about those previous films. This one at least has some memorable moments, highlighted by some great action scenes. Is this enough to justify the need for this to have been made or that this franchise keep going? The answer to that is an emphatic no. Kids will love this, though, and adults will get a kick out of some points here and there, but as a whole, I wouldn’t really recommend this, unless you’re doing an Ice Age marathon.

3 out of 5 stars

Snow White and the Huntsman

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Snow White is the Princess of Tabor, daughter of King Magnus and Queen Eleanor. After his wife’s death, King Magnus marries the beautiful Ravenna after rescuing her from the Dark Army, an invading force of glass soldiers. Ravenna, who is in fact a powerful sorceress and the Dark Army’s master, kills Magnus on their wedding night after noting that men like him exploit the beauty of women and discard them. As Ravenna usurps control of the entire kingdom, Duke Hammond escapes the castle with his son William, but is unable to rescue Snow White, who is captured by Ravenna’s brother Finn. Snow White is then locked away in the north tower of the castle.

Tabor is left in ruins under Ravenna’s rule as she periodically drains the youth from young women in order to maintain a spell once cast by her mother which allows her to keep her beauty. When Snow White comes of age, Ravenna learns from her Magic Mirror that Snow White is destined to destroy her unless Ravenna consumes the young girl’s heart, which will make her immortal. Ravenna orders Finn to bring her Snow White, but she escapes into the Dark Forest, where Ravenna has no power. Eric the Huntsman, a widower who has survived the Dark Forest, is brought to Ravenna, who orders him to lead Finn in pursuit of Snow White. In exchange, she promises to revive his deceased wife, Sarah. Duke Hammond learns that Snow White is alive and has fled into the Dark Forest. William, Snow White’s childhood friend, later infiltrates Finn’s band as a bowman to find her.

The Huntsman tracks down Snow White in the Dark Forest but refuses to hand her over until he knows Ravenna will keep her word. When Finn admits that Ravenna cannot resurrect the dead, the Huntsman helps Snow White to escape, promising to escort her to Duke Hammond’s castle in exchange for a reward of gold. The two leave the Dark Forest, escape the troll and pass through a fishing village where all the women have disfigured themselves in order to escape Ravenna, and where he learns Snow White’s true identity. He then leaves her in the care of the women but returns when he sees the village being burned down by Finn’s men. Snow White and the Huntsman eventually meet a band of dwarves — Beith, Muir, Quert, Coll, Duir, Gort, Nion, and Gus. Muir discovers that Snow White is the only person who can defeat Ravenna and end her reign.

As they travel through a fairy sanctuary, the group is attacked by Finn’s men, resulting in Gus’ death. The Huntsman kills Finn after learning he abetted in the murder of his wife. William reveals himself and helps defeat the soldiers before joining the others in their journey to Hammond’s castle.

Ravenna disguises herself as William and tempts Snow White into eating a poisoned apple, but is forced to flee when the Huntsman and William discover her. William kisses Snow White — whom he believes to be dead — without seeing that she has shed a solitary tear. She is taken to Hammond’s castle. As she lies in repose, the Huntsman professes his regret for not saving Snow White, who reminds him of his wife, and kisses her, breaking the spell; she awakens after a second tear has fallen. Snow White then takes command of the Duke’s army and leads them into battle against Ravenna.

The Dwarves infiltrate Tabor through the sewers and open the gates, which allows the Duke’s army to invade the castle. Snow White confronts Ravenna, but is overpowered. Ravenna is about to kill Snow White and consume her heart when she uses one of the moves Eric taught her on Ravenna and successfully kills her in the end, telling her that she cannot have her heart. Duke Hammond’s army is victorious.

The kingdom is once again in order and peace as Snow White becomes Queen and in the end, Snow White and Eric share meaningful glances, indicating a possible romantic end for Snow White and the Huntsman Eric.

REVIEW:

Remember the days when fairy tales were all about singing princesses, talking animals, and happy endings? Well, if Snow White and the Huntsman has anything to do with it, and I fear it will, those days are numbered. This film brings us a darker tone to the tale that most of us know best from the Disney masterpiece Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but I question whether this change is for the better or worse.

What is this film about?

Snow White, imprisoned daughter of the late king, escapes just as the Magic Mirror declares her the source of the Evil Queen’s immortality. The Queen sends her men, led by a local huntsman, to bring her back. But upon her capture, the huntsman finds he’s being played and turns against the Queen’s men, saving Snow White in the process. Meanwhile, Snow’s childhood friend, William, learns that she is alive and sets off to save her.

What did I like?

Special effects. Say what you will about the film itself, you cannot deny that these effects are one arguably the best thing about it. Starting with the (underused) magic mirror. Instead of a disembodied head, we get some sort of lucid figure that oozes from the mirror, quite the departure from what we are used to. The queen herself has some pretty cool effects, mostly dealing with her magic glass army. Finally, there are the creatures in the forest, fairies, trolls, dwarves (which I will talk about later), and a horse-like spirit. The look of all this is just gorgeous!

C & C. Kristen Stewart may be the “star” of this little picture but, make no mistake, it is Charlize Theron that owns the picture. She gives a wicked queen so evil that she may even make you forget about any other versions. Chris Hemsworth also is a presence to be reckoned with. He doesn’t steal the film like Theron does, but he does prove that he can do more than just play Thor.

What didn’t I like?

Snow White. I don’t care for Kristen Stewart. She is one of these so-called actresses in Hollywood that sleeps with the director or some other higher up and keeps getting jobs, while the more talented thespians are forced to take lesser parts. That point aside, she may have the pale look needed for this part, but she doesn’t have the acting chops. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is a dead heat between her and Megan Fox as to who is the worst actress in Hollywood today. Her acting may have been the reason why I didn’t really get the chemistry between her and Hemsworth or the sudden change in attitude. Before she bit the apple, she wasn’t exactly a prissy princess, but she wasn’t going off to lead a rebellion, but she waked up and all of sudden she’s Xena? WTF?!?

Vertically challenged…or are they? No disrespect to the seven fine British actors that were cast as the dwarves, or the use of technology that allowed these “full-size” actors to portray dwarves, but how hard would it have been to either totally CGI some dwarves or find seven little people (or whatever the term is these days)? I know that if I were an actor such as Tony Cox, Peter Dinklage, Warwick Davis, or any of the other shall we say, vertically challenged, actors, I’d be more than pissed. Work is already hard to come by, and now they’re shrinking other actors down? That just isn’t right!!!!

Girl power. Enough is enough with this girl power thing! Women are powerful, we get it, but is that any reason to turn a classic fairy tale into what is, as one person put it, “a watered down version of the Lord of the Rings movies”. On top of that, was there any reason to take the love story away from the prince and give her to the Huntsman? Doesn’t that negate everything we know about Snow White? Even further than that, the “fight” between her and the queen wasn’t worth the wait. Snow walked in there like she was storming down to the WWE ring, but then all we get is some scenes with the queen’s glass army and other special effects.

*YAWN* I cannot remember a film that has bored be as quickly as Snow White and the Huntsman. The few redeeming qualities it has are not enough to overcome the slow, boring pace of the flick with characters we don’t really care for. I do not recommend this unless you’re doing a comparison of Snow White films. In which case, I suggest the far superior Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Mirror Mirror or, if you must have something different, Sydney White but please don’t waste your time with this. I certainly wish I could have those two hours back! Yes, I did just say Mirror Mirror is far superior to this one. My opinion, deal with it!

2 out of 5 stars

The Adventures of Tintin

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Tintin, a young journalist, and his dog Snowy are browsing in an outdoor market in a European town (scene starts off with a cameo of Hergé doing Tintin’s portrait). Tintin buys a model of a three-masted sailing ship, the Unicorn, on the cheap, but is then immediately accosted by the sinister Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine, and the mysterious figure of Barnaby, who both try to buy the model from Tintin, without success. Tintin takes the ship home, but it is broken during a fight between Snowy and a neighbour’s cat. As it breaks, a parchment scroll slips out of the ship’s mast. Snowy spots it but is unable to alert Tintin. Meanwhile, incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson are on the trail of a pickpocket, Aristides Silk. Tintin visits Sakharine in Marlinspike Hall, where he learns that there are at least two model ships. Tintin puts the scroll in his wallet, only to have it (his wallet) stolen by a pickpocket.

Later, Tintin is shot at, then abducted by accomplices of Sakharine, and imprisoned on the SS Karaboudjan. On board, Tintin escapes and meets the ship’s nominal captain, Haddock. Haddock has been supplied with whisky by first mate Allan, who is working for Sakharine, and the captain is permanently drunk, and doesn’t know what’s happening on board his ship. Tintin and Haddock (and Snowy) eventually escape from the Karaboudjan in a lifeboat. Sakharine sends a seaplane to find them, but Tintin is able to capture the plane, and fly towards the (fictitious) Moroccan port of Bagghar, but they crash in the desert.

Dehydrated in the heat, and suffering from a sudden lack of alcohol, Haddock hallucinates, and starts to remember stories about his ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock, who was captain of the Unicorn during the 17th century. Sir Francis’ treasure-laden ship was attacked by a pirate ship, led by the masked Red Rackham, and, after a fierce battle and eventual surrender, Sir Francis chose to sink the Unicorn, and most of the treasure, rather than allow it to fall into Rackham’s hands. It transpires that there were three models of the Unicorn, each containing a scroll. Together, the scrolls will reveal the location of the sunken Unicorn, and its treasure.

In Bagghar, Tintin and the Captain find out that the third model ship is in the possession of the wealthy Omar Ben Salaad, but it is encased in a bullet-proof glass display case. Sakharine’s plan is to stage a concert involving famous diva Bianca Castafiore, the “Milanese nightingale”, whose penetrating singing voice will be able to shatter the glass case, allowing Sakharine’s trained hawk to fly down and steal the third scroll. After a chase down to the harbour, pursued by Tintin and Haddock, Sakharine finally escapes with all three scrolls. Tintin chases him back to Europe and arranges a police reception for him on the dockside. Haddock and Sakharine, who is revealed to be the descendant of Red Rackham, replay their ancestors’ swashbuckling sword fight, using dockside cranes, swords, and even bottles of whiskey. Haddock is eventually victorious and Sakharine is promptly arrested by Thomson and Thompson.

With the three scrolls in their possession, Tintin and Haddock find that the indicated location is Marlinspike Hall, and that the hall had been built originally by Sir Francis Haddock. There, in the cellar, they find some of the treasure, and a clue to the location of the sunken Unicorn. Both men agree to continue the adventure.

REVIEW:

When I heard they were making a Tintin movie, I had a WTF?!? moment. As well versed as I am in cartoons and other hand drawn literature, for lack of a better term, I had only heard of Tintin is passing. I would wager that many out there in the general audience had similar thoughts going through their heads. For some reason, though, Steven Spielberg and his crew felt there was enough of an audience to embark on this epic animated feature, The Adventures of Tintin.

From what I’ve heard, this film did alright here in the states, but made most of its money overseas, which is where it was actually more popular in the first place. As a matter of fact, I think this was originally a French comic strip/adventure comic.

So, what worked about this film?

The animation. The people were motion captured, which I still find creepy, but the settings and details on little things, such as the fur on Snowy the dog, were a sight to behold. Sure, it isn’t as good as Pixar stuff, but it doesn’t suck, I can tell you that much!

The action. In a manner similar to the Indiana Jones films, this film takes us all over the world in search of one small artifact, while our hero is constantly having his life on the line.

What didn’t work?

The voice acting. This is a personal issue, but almost all of the voices just didn’t seem to work for the characters they were voicing, specifically Sakharine/Red Rackham. I don’t know why, but it was sort of like mixing oil and water. No matter how much you try to get them to mix, it just doesn’t happen.

While I’m on the topic of voice acting, Jamie Bell as Tintin was more than annoying, he was downright the downfall of this film for me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but there was something about him that was very off putting.

The pacing. For a film like this, they could have either moved it along a little faster, or shaved off 15-30 minutes. Instead, they dragged it on longer than it needed to be. I can think of about 3 or 4 places sprinkled through the flick that they could have made some cuts.

In the end, The Adventures of Tintin worked on some levels, but is not great animated masterpiece. If the idea was to pique people’s curiosity on the character and history of Tintin, then I think it worked. Otherwise, this was nothing more than an overpriced jumble of stories cut from the books, and not with good results. Do I recommend this? Take it or leave it. For me, this was quite forgettable!

3 out of 5 stars