Saturday, July 23, 2011

Captain America review

Captain America is the final superhero origin story from Marvel before 2012's The Avengers. It is Marvel's best since Iron Man and might even be the best Marvel film, not including Spider-Man.Captain America has one of the best stories Marvel has ever put on screen, and it also has a ton of action.

Chris Evans is perfectly cast as Steve Rogers, a 90 pound kid who wants to go and fight for his country in World War II. But the army continues to deny him. Rogers and his friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) go to an event hosted by Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), who is Tony Stark's dad. Rogers is spotted by Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), who gets him into the army. He is taken to base where he is met by Peggy Carter (Hayley Altwell) and Col. Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones). Dr. Erskine has created a technology that can make you a "Super Soldier". Rogers is then turned into Captain America. He first goes around selling war bonds but then he starts to be more involved in the fighting. Meanwhile, a German scientist named Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) who was also tested by Dr. Erskine's technology and became a monster known as the Red Skull. Schmidt finds a technology that can win the war for himself and he can destroy all the major capitals in the world. His organization is known as HYDRA.

What follows is loads of action and a great ending that sets up The Avengers well. The action sequences are spectacular with loads of explosions and gunfire. Jones is hilarious as Phillips and the relationship between Carter and Rogers does not feel forced. Rogers is not crazy like Tony Stark, he always does the right thing. Also the film is 2 hours long but it goes by really fast.

This summer has been full of superheroes. Green Lantern was pretty bad while Thor was good. Captain America blows both of those movies away. Go see it. You won't be disappointed.

THE FINAL GRADE:  A-                                            (8.6/10)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Trailer Central #3

Here are trailers for three of the biggest upcoming films: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Dark Knight Rises, and The Amazing Spider-Man.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 wins weekend box office

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the final installment in the Harry Potter series, broke almost every single record in box office history. Deathly Hallows made $169.1 million dollars in it's first 3 days, breaking the record of $158 million set by The Dark Knight back in 2008. The film also opened to $475 million worldwide, including a record breaking $307 million from foreign countries. On it's opening day, HP7: Part 2 had a record $92.1 million, along with a record of $43.5 million from midnight showings. So far this week, HP7: Part 2 has raised it's total to $202 million in the US and has almost reached $600 million worldwide.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 review

You probably don't need me to tell you to go see the final Harry Potter movie. But if you do for some reason, here you go: GO SEE IT! The final Potter movie picks up where Part 1 left off. Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has stolen the Elder Wand, a wand with unlimited power, from Dumbledore (Michael Gambon). Meanwhile, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) are still hunting Horcruxes, objects that contain pieces of Voldemort's soul. The hunt takes them to Hogwarts where Snape (Alan Rickman) is headmaster and two other Death Eaters; Amycus and Alecto Carrow control the school. As soon as Voldemort learns that Harry is at Hogwarts, he and the Death Eaters prepare to attack the school and destroy Harry once and for all.

Potter is epic, almost as epic as you can get. The film is also very intense throughout and has several bloody battle sequences. Part 2 is filled with emotion. It is the most emotional of all the films and  I think a large part of it has to do with this being the last movie in the series. Snape's story is emotional beyond belief and it makes you feel terrible for what has happened to him in his life. The epilogue that is set 19 years later is cheesy but I felt extremely sad. It has nothing to do with the makeup on the characters, it all has to do with the series ending and I could tell that the entire audience was very sad.

Now I love the Harry Potter series but unfortunately Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was not perfect. Three of the main character deaths in the book are not even shown in the movie. I think it would have been better and more emotional if they had shown those deaths. But I guess director David Yates felt that it would be better if they just show their bodies. Also, there was not enough of the Battle of Hogwarts. There was some of the battle but not nearly enough of it. At some points I felt that they should have focused on some of the other characters fighting in the Battle of Hogwarts that we have come to know and love throughout this series instead of just Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

Overall, this was a great ending to one of the greatest movie franchises in history. Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a roller coaster that let's you say goodbye to Harry and his friends in a great way. There will never be a better movie franchise based on a series of books. Also, as a Potter fan I have written this review in the perspective of a fan of the books and of the movies; even if you have not loved the Harry Potter series, this is still a great film.

THE FINAL GRADE:  A                                             (9.5/10)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Preview of the 2nd half of 2011

The first half of the year was packed with lots of films, but what's to come in the second half? Here is a preview of the second half of the year.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (July 15, Rated PG-13)- This is it. The final battle between Harry and Voldemort. Everyone will want to see how it ends and I can say I can't wait for this movie. It will be epic and if you plan on seeing it opening weekend, I would get tickets now, because they are going fast.

Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22)- Captain America is Marvel's final film before The Avengers and this one looks amazing. Set in World War II, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is an undersized guy who is turned into Captain America to fight the Nazi's and Red Skull (Hugo Weaving). Captain America looks like it will be an action-packed thrill ride.

Cowboys and Aliens (July 29, Rated PG-13)- Cowboys and Aliens is the latest from Jon Favreau, the director of Iron Man. This movie stars Daniel Craig as an outlaw who wanders into a town and gets arrested. He can't remember who he is or where he came from. He has a shackle on his wrist. Then aliens attack. This one looks intense.

The Smurfs (July 29, Rated PG)- The Smurfs live happily in their village until an evil sorcerer attacks. The Smurfs are then transported to New York, where they are taken in by a couple. This one looks like a movie just for little kids, and they will probably like it.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (August 5, Rated PG-13)- A young scientist finds a cure for Alzheimer's disease using chimpanzee's as test subjects. Then the apes evolve and decide to take over. This should be the start of a new series for the Planet of the Apes. I'm curious to see how the apes take over with sticks and stones when we have bombs and guns.

Spy Kids 4D: All the Time in the World (August 19, Rated PG)- Two kids find out that their mom is a spy and the try to help her stop the Timekeeper, a man who wants to take all the time in the world. The premise sounds weak but I want to see how the 4D "Aromascope" works.

Apollo 18 (September 2, Rated PG-13)- Another "found footage" movie shows footage of an unknown mission to the moon. Looks really creepy.

Abduction (September 23)- I'm not a Twilight fan but this sci-fi thriller starring Taylor Launtner looks really good. Taylor Launtner stars as a boy who is trying to find out who his parents are while he is being chased by the government. Also stars Lily Collins and Sigourney Weaver.

Moneyball (September 23)- Brad Pitt stars as Billy Bean, the general manager for the Oakland A's. His team is terrible so he finds Peter (Jonah Hill) who creates a new method in scouting baseball players. And of course they end up succeeded. Moneyball is already being called this year's The Blind Side, so be sure to check it out.

Real Steel (October 7, Rated PG-13)- While the premise of boxing robots may sound stupid, this movie actually looks really cool. Hugh Jackman stars as a trainer who gains the help of a kid and a robot to get him back on top of the robot boxing world.

Footloose (October 14)- This is a remake of the 1985 classic, and while I have not seen the original, this one looks good. Ren McCormack moves to a town where dancing is banned. Him and a group of friends try to get dancing legal again.

The Three Musketeers (October 21, Rated PG-13)- This film is loosely based on The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas. A young teenager tries to join a group of musketeers to stop evil. Looks very odd.

Puss in Boots (November 4)- This Shrek spin-off tracks Puss before he was Shrek's friend. I hope that it is good because the last two Shrek movies were not that great.

Immortals (November 11)- A mixture of Clash of the Titans and 300, a man named Hyperion is about to take of the whole world including Mount Olympus. So the gods choose a mortal man to stop Hyperion. This movie looks really good and I'm looking forward to it.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1 (November 18)- Part 1 of the final chapter in the Twilight saga will have Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristin Stewart) married and Bella is also going to be pregnant. I have not read the book, so I have no idea what happens. Breaking Dawn will surely be a smash hit.

Arthur Christmas (November 23)- This movie about Santa Claus's son could be great or could end up like 2007's Fred Claus and be terrible.

The Muppets (November 23)- The Muppets return and try to save their theater with the help of Walter, a young muppet, Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams). I hope that this revives The Muppets and gets them a TV show but it may not.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (December 16)- The Chipmunks return in this threequel. I hope it's better that the terrible sequel.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (December 16)- Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, and Jeremy Renner star in the fourth Mission Impossible movie. This one involves an attack and a mission to find the killer undercover. The trailer was awesome, especially the Eminem song and all the action. I expect this to be an awesome movie.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (December 16)- Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) return in the sequel to 2009's Sherlock Holmes. The first was OK but I hope this one has more action, a better villain and a better story.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (December 23)- Steven Spielberg directs this movie, which is based on an old cartoon strip. The film is done in motion capture technology. The plot looks dark and has something to do with a ship.

War Horse (December 28)- Steven Spielberg's other movie is based on a book and involves a horse in the middle of World War I. I have a feeling that this will be a great movie.

Well, those are all the movies but here are some trailers for the movies that I listed.

Best and Worst of the 1st half of 2011

The first half of the year in movies is over and I am going to review the best and worst movies of the year so far. There have been great movies, good movies, and bad movies, but I'm still waiting for a terrible movie. Here are the best and worst of 2011 so far.

BEST MOVIE: Super 8- Original and action-packed, Super 8 had it all including an unknown cast led by Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning that was excellent throughout the whole movie. The story was great as well, and even though it was similar to Close Encounters and E.T., it was fun to watch. Super 8 is without a doubt, the best movie of the year.

WORST MOVIE: Rio- Cluttered and boring, Rio had bright colors and a good idea, but just never put all the right pieces together. Only the last 50 minutes were somewhat interesting. Rio could have been better but it failed to and ended up a boring mess.

BEST ANIMATED MOVIE: Cars 2- Colorful, bright, and action-packed, Cars 2 was one of the year's best with great animation and a lot of action. The story was thin, but that did not prevent Cars 2 from being fun.
The settings were amazing and the humor was pretty good. Cars 2 was really good.

WORST ANIMATED MOVIE: Rio- As I explained in the Worst Movie category, Rio had great animation but the story and lack of action prevented it from being good. Even though Cars 2 did not have a great story, it had action and cool settings, which Rio did not really have.

BEST SEQUEL: Cars 2- Cars 2 was just plain fun. Nonstop action and spy thrills made this a very good sequel that was as good as the original. That does not happen much with sequels.

WORST SEQUEL: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides- Not that On Stranger Tides was bad, it just was not as good as the other Pirates of the Caribbean movies. It was missing some of the key characters (like Pintel and Ragetti) that made the first two great movies. On Stranger Tides was better than the third movie, At World's End.

BEST MOVIE BASED ON A BOOK OR COMIC BOOK: Thor- While Thor was not as good as Spider Man or Iron Man, it was still a very good superhero movie. The right mixture of action and story, Thor was one of this year's best.

WORST MOVIE BASED ON A BOOK OR COMIC BOOK: Green Lantern- Green Lantern was one of the worst superhero movies I've seen. The action sequences are pathetic and Oa, the Green Lantern's home land is dull and dark. Also the Green Lantern's costume is laughable. Green Lantern was really disappointing.

That's all for the Best and Worst of the 1st half of 2011, check out my next post for a preview of the 2nd half.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mr. Popper's Penguins review

Mr. Popper's Penguins is based on the book, Mr. Popper's Penguins by Florence and Richard Atwater, but it is nothing like the book. While the book had some odd comedy in it, the movie focuses on slapstick humor and other bathroom humor.

Jim Carrey is Tom Popper, a wealthy buisnessman who is divorced and not close to his kids. He is trying to buy Central Park's The Tavern on the Green from owner Mrs. Van Gundy (Angela Lansbury) so he can get a promotion at work. Popper's father was an Antarctic explorer who recently died. He leaves Popper a penguin. Popper tries to take him back but instead he gets more penguins. Meanwhile, a zookeeper (Clark Gregg) finds out he has the penguins and tries to get them to his zoo.

The story is predictable, as the penguins helps him get closer to his ex-wife (Carla Gugino) and his kids, but it moves at a fast enough pace that it is not boring. There where some things I did not like though. Mr. Popper's assistant, Pippi, is one of the most annoying characters I have seen in a movie in a long time and if you see the movie you will know why I say that. There where a few scenes where the movie went to stupid bathroom humor that little kids would find funny but I found incredibly stupid. The one that stuck out was a scene where Mr. Popper held the penguins over the toilet while they pooped.

Overall, Mr. Popper's Penguins was decent, but it could have been better if it did not have some of the dumb jokes.

THE FINAL GRADE:  C+                                              (6/10)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides reaches $1 billion dollars worldwide

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has reached $1 billion dollars at the worldwide box office. On Stranger Tides is the 8th film in box office history to reach a billion dollars. On Stranger Tides is the 2nd Pirates of the Caribbean film to reach $1 billion; Dead Man's Chest also reached that total. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the 4th Disney film to reach a billion dollars worldwide, the others being Dead Man's Chest, Alice in Wonderland, and Toy Story 3.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon review

If you have read any movie reviews recently, you probably know that Transformers: Dark of the Moon is getting bad reviews. They are wrong. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is awesome. The special effects are excellent, the action is amazing and the 3D is stunning. Director Michael Bay has possibly created the biggest action movie ever. Basically, it is everything you would expect from a summer movie.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was destroyed by critics for having a story that was too crazy and hard to follow. So, Dark of the Moon has a tighter story that focuses on one plot, not three. Transformers: Dark of the Moon finds Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) with a new girlfriend, Carly (Rosie Huntington- Whiteley) and he is living in Washington DC with her, away from the Autobots. And he can't find a job. Meanwhile, a technology created by Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy), Optimus Prime's predecessor is found on the moon along with Sentinel. We learn that the Apollo 11 mission and the whole Space Race was a decoy to get to the spacecraft carrying Sentinel. But the Autobots have to get it before the Decepticons do because if in the wrong hands it would destroy the Earth.

There are so many characters in the film I can't even name them all. I'll just say that the most important are Dylan Gould (Patrick Dempsey), who is Carly's boss, and Mearing (Frances McDormand), the National Security Director. Simmons (John Turturro) also returns along with another new character, his secretary, Dutch (Alan Tudyk). Ken Jeong makes a hilarious appearance as Jerry, Sam's co-worker who used to work for NASA.

The plot is engaging and feels more like a mystery or a puzzle.The whole plot leads up to a massive battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons in Chicago, along with the army, led by Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and Epps (Tyrese Gibson). The last hour of the movie is spent destroying Chicago while humans and robots fight to the death. The movie also had some twists I did not see coming. The posters show Shockwave, a cyclops-like robot as the main villian. He makes two appearances. He basically is a giant snake that eats buildings.

The 3D was incredible and Michael Bay certainly did a good job doing the conversion from 2D to 3D. He did not get the running time right. The film clocks in at 2 1/2 hours and some of the movie could have been cut out. The last 30 minutes are an exhilarating thrill ride that does not stop at all. Some of the battle with just humans on Decepticons is somewhat tedious but still cool. Be prepared for a lot of death. Lots of people are killed. The final battle between Optimus, Megatron and another robot is amazing. Overall, if you love action,  Transformers: Dark of the Moon is your movie. I really liked it, not just the action but the story as well. It was not quite as good as the first though. I would recommend seeing it in 3D. It is worth the extra $4 dollars. Beware of a scene where there is a large group of soldiers jumping out of a plane in base jumping suits, for this scene may make you feel like throwing up. Also this is the most violent Transformers. I would not recommend showing anybody under the age of 11 in theaters.

THE FINAL GRADE:  A-                                           (8.5/10)

Trailer Central #2

Here are this week's newest trailers.

Disney and Pixar working on Toy Story 4

Tom Hanks has broke the news. Toy Story 4 is in the early stages of development. Toy Story 3 made over $1 billion dollars at the worldwide box office, so it would be smart for Disney to make a sequel. It will likely not be out for a while, but for now Disney will be doing Toy Story Toons, which will premiere before Cars 2 and The Muppets.