Friday, January 20, 2012

Classic Films in review- PART 1

Lately, I've been able to watch a lot of classic films. Some of them I'd seen before, most of them I hadn't.
Here are short reviews for all the classic films that I have been able to watch so far.


2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

2001 is considered to be the definitive science fiction film. Before I watched the film, I wondered if that could be true. After watching the film I still don't know if that is true. 2001 is quite possibly the weirdest film I have ever seen. It has no real plot line and goes off into some crazy directions. I was thinking about it a couple days after watching it. It's different and very philosophical. I have one huge problem with the film. It's slow. It moves so slow that even though you're supposed to thinking about the film and contemplating it, you can't stop thinking about how slow it is. I had to stop it multiple times because I was bored. Another thing that might frustrate people about 2001 is that it has no clear plot line. Basically, it traces human origins back to the prehistoric ages and we keep finding these black monoliths. So, Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) and another astronaut (Gary Lockwood) go out to space to find these monolith things with HAL 9000. Then HAL goes crazy and takes over the ship. The ending is really weird and you don't really understand why they're on the Jupiter mission until there's about 20 minutes left in the movie. 2001 is a great movie, but not a fun one to watch. I plan on watching it a few more times to truly understand it. THE FINAL GRADE: 8/10





AIRPLANE!

Hands-down, one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. Airplane! is the hilarious spoof of '70s disaster films and it is awesome. It has some of the funniest lines in the history of movies. The story is that Ted Striker (Robert Hays) chases after his love (Julie Hagerty) and gets on an airplane. On the plane, several passengers get food poisoning and it's up to Striker to get them safe. Airplane! delivers rapid-fire laughs including great lines like this:

"We need to get her to a hospital."
"A hospital? What is it?"
"It's a big building with sick people. But don't worry about that right now."

And perhaps the most famous line from the film:

"Surely, you can't be serious!"
"I am serious. And don't call me Shirley."

All in all, Airplane!is a can't miss comedy classic. FINAL GRADE: 9/10





THE BIRDS

An excellent Hitchcock thriller that focuses on a small California town that is attacked by birds. The story follows Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hendren) as she visits the Brenner family. Then the birds start acting strange. And then they attack the town and start to murder people. The Birds isn't Hitchcock's best thriller, but it still is very good. Some people think that the film starts slow, but I was never bored. I think that unlike his other horror film, Psycho, this one is strictly a thriller and not necessarily scary. But thrilling it is. THE FINAL GRADE: 9/10



CASABLANCA

#3 on the American Film Institute's list of the100 greatest films is Casablanca. Casablanca stars Humphrey Bogart as cafe owner Rick Blaine. One night a Czech freedom fighter named Victor Lazlo (Paul Henreid) comes into the cafe. He is under pursuit by the Nazis and needs two letters of transit the Rick has. One for him and one for his wife Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), who is Rick's former love. Casablanca is a beloved American classic and it definitely is good. I thought it was sort of slow in some places but it definitely is a good film. THE FINAL GRADE: 9/10



CITIZEN KANE

The #1 film of all time according to the American Film Institute is Citizen Kane. Kane is a simple story. A reporter tries to discover the meaning of the last words of dead newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane. His last words: rosebud. Kane is not a complex story but it is a ridiculously interesting one. The only time I wasn't interested was during a short lag in the middle. Otherwise, I had my eyes glued to the screen. Citizen Kane was a revolutionary film at the time, but now it's nothing more than a great story. Citizen Kane is an American masterpiece. THE FINAL GRADE: 10/10




CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND

When people think of Steven Spielberg, they think of Indiana Jones, Jaws and E.T. and maybe Schindler's List or Saving Private Ryan. But if people learn more about Spielberg, they'll discover that there is another masterpiece waiting for them in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The story is about Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) who has a close encounter and becomes obsessed with aliens. Meanwhile, people all around the world are seeing UFO's in the sky. Watching this film now, I discovered that my favorite film of 2011, the fantastic Super 8 draws a lot from this film and I thought it was cool to look at the similarities. Close Encounters has a sheer sense of wonder that isn't quite as present in some of Spielberg's other films. The bottom line is that you shouldn't overlook Close Encounters of the Third Kind because it is truly a great movie. THE FINAL GRADE: 10/10





DANCES WITH WOLVES

Filled with great performances, breathtaking action, and a beautiful setting, Dances with Wolves is one that you can't miss. Kevin Costner directs and stars as John Dunbar, a man who is sent to protect a base from the Sioux Indians. Soon, Dunbar befriends the Indians and begins to live like them. When the US army comes back to drive the Sioux out, Dunbar must decide what path he will take. Dances with Wolves is about three hours long, but its almost never slow. The story is fantastic and it has been copied by films like The Last Samurai and Avatar. My only problem is that the ending isn't exactly happy and it's sort of anticlimactic.But besides some minor problems, Dances with Wolves is an excellent film. THE FINAL GRADE: 8/10





E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL

A great film that is one of director Steven Spielberg's best. Out of all his films, E.T is the most human story that he has made so far. If you haven't seen the film already, here's a short synopsis for you: A young boy befriends an alien who is left by his family and just wants to get home. A kids classic that is equally beloved by adults, E.T. will be remembered for generations to come. THE FINAL GRADE: 9/10



FOOTLOOSE

This 1980's classic is ridiculously corny. It's also a lot of fun. Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon, in his breakout role) moves to Bomont, Utah and tries to get rid of the ban on dancing that has been made a law by the town preacher (John Lithgow). Footloose was recently remade by Paramount. Kids and teens should also check out this film which is fast paced and has an awesome soundtrack. My only complaint is that some of the stuff with the preacher seems too much like a TV movie. Overall, Footloose is a lot of fun. THE FINAL GRADE: 8/10



KING KONG (1933)

The original monster movie is one of the best. King Kong stars Fay Wray as Ann who is picked off the street by Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) to be an actress in his movie. They go on an expedition to Skull Island where they encounter savages and the eighth wonder of the world........King Kong. The special effects on Kong are poor but its still a lot of fun to watch toy models fight. The story is told very fast, so that it's easy to keep up with the pace and not be bored. King Kong is one of the best thrillers ever made. THE FINAL GRADE:10/10





THE MALTESE FALCON

This Humphrey Bogart classic is a film where I think that his acting is a negative thing to the film. Sam Spade (Bogart) is a private eye who investigates a murder case that all leads to the object that "dreams are made of", the Maltese Falcon. There wasn't much I liked about this film. Bogart and most of the actors are annoying. The plot is sort of hard to follow and not much happens in the end. One of my least favorites so far. THE FINAL GRADE: 4/10




NORTH BY NORTHWEST

North by Northwest is an exciting Hitchcock thriller but it's also long and once it gets to the climax, it becomes hard to follow. The film follows Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant), a businessman who gets tangled in a web of murder and spies. This film is full of action but is overlong. Eva Marie Saint and the other supporting actors are pretty good and the action sequences are spectacular, even by today's standards. THE FINAL GRADE: 8/10




PSYCHO

Alfred Hitchcock's best thriller is the terrifying Psycho. Psycho follows Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) as she takes a trip to the Bates Motel after stealing some money. At the Motel, Marion meets Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), an odd man who lives with his mother. There are plenty of creepy and memorable sequences in this film and Hitchcock packs each film with a ton of tension. The ending is the scariest ending I have ever seen in a movie. Don't miss the best horror film in film history. THE FINAL GRADE:10/10



REAR WINDOW

Rear Window is one of Alfred Hitchcock's slowest moving films. The film starts slow and doesn't pick up towards the end. But the whole film is held together by the sense of mystery Hitchcock packs into the film. There isn't much suspense until the end, but it's very suspenseful. The film follows Jeff Jeffries (James Stewart) and his girlfriend (Grace Kelly) as they spy on their neighbor who they believe killed his wife. I wouldn't say this is the best Hitchcock film but it's still a classic. THE FINAL GRADE: 7/10



ROCKY

The best underdog story ever. Rocky follows the title character (Sylvester Stallone) as he fights the champion, Apollo Creed. Rocky is such a great underdog story, and you want Rocky to win every time. The film has plenty of great action sequences in one of the greatest boxing movies ever made. THE FINAL GRADE:10/10







VERTIGO

Out of the five Hitchcock thrillers I watched, this was my least favorite. I know Vertigo is considered to be his best, but I found it weird and confusing. Vertigo stars Jimmy Stewart as Scottie who is told to watch his friend's wife (Kim Novak) but is eventually tricked into a murder plot. The first hour of Vertigo is fantastic. It has many entertaining sequences. But then the more it developed into a love story and Judy (Novak's other role) is introduced, I found it boring and disappointing. Novak's acting is very stiff but Stewart is pretty good. I plan on watching Vertigo again to see if I like it but I did not enjoy the film after my first viewing. THE FINAL GRADE: 5/10




That's it for now but check back soon for more of my reviews on classic movies.

Chuck Norris and Sylvester Stallone confirm that The Expendables 2 will be PG-13

Chuck Norris said in an interview that one of the conditions of him signing on for The Expendables 2 was that it had to be PG-13. Norris said in the interview that he demanded that the language and vulgar dialogue be cut out of the film for a more teen-friendly PG-13. A lot of action fans immediately questioned the idea of the film being PG-13 and not R. Now, the film's star, Sylvester Stallone has confirmed that rumor saying that while the film will be PG-13, it will still have a lot of violence and the final scene will be awesome.

I think that this is great for the general public, but will also come as a disappointment for hard-core action fans. The Expendables 2 will be released on August 17.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Movie Guru's Top 15 most anticipated for 2012

2012 is going to be a huge year. It is going to end The Twilight Saga, Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, and cap off Marvel's Avengers movie series. I think that it will bring the biggest total domestic box office gross in history. Not only do we have those three guaranteed blockbusters, we also have Peter Jackson's return to Middle-Earth in The Hobbit, Ridley Scott's Alien prequel, a Spider Man reboot, and multiple Snow White movies. Here are my top fifteen most anticipated movies of the year.



1. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

The Dark Knight and Batman Begins are two of the greatest superhero movies ever made. Unfortunately, with all the praise for The Dark Knight, Batman Begins which is arguably the better film is often forgotten. Not of that really matters, because The Dark Knight Rises is going to be epic. I have complete faith in Christopher Nolan and that he will end his saga the right way. The plot sounds complex and Bane sounds like an amazing villain. After making Inception, which is one of my favorite movies, I believe in Nolan and can't wait for The Dark Knight Rises to finally come out. JULY 20.

2. THE AVENGERS

The Avengers is going to be huge. This is without a doubt the most ambitious Hollywood project in history. Nobody has ever seen or done this before. And from what I've seen so far, it's going to be great. All of the Avengers prequels of sorts have been good. And from what Marvel president Kevin Feige has said so far, this one is set to match Transformers: Dark of the Moon in pure scale and action. Director Joss Whedon not only has the task of making a sci-fi epic, but also making one worthy of the Avengers prequels. MAY 4.

3. PROMETHEUS

I'm going to start by saying that I wasn't overly impressed by the trailer for Prometheus. It was short, it didn't reveal much plot, and by the time the trailer was actually released, I had seen the whole thing in the preview trailers. But the sheer potential of Prometheus is something to get excited about. A 3D prequel of sorts to Alien? Count me in. While the trailer was sort of disappointing, I was impressed by some of the visuals. The key to this film will be the aliens. Will they be as memorable as the one from Alien? All I know is that there is a lot of potential waiting with Prometheus. JUNE 8.

4. THE HUNGER GAMES

Based off of one of my favorite YA novels, The Hunger Games has some of the best source material to be adapted to a movie since Harry Potter. People are calling it the next Twilight and I hate that. The Hunger Games is not a romantic novel. It is more like Harry Potter in that it has romantic aspects along with loads of violence and action. The Hunger Games also has a much more talented and experienced cast than Twilight. Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are both famous actors and Lawrence even has an Oscar nomination. The cast also includes Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, and Elizabeth Banks. Now that is something to be excited about. All I know is that The Hunger Games is going to be a massive hit and unlike Twilight will appeal to both guys and girls. MARCH 23.

5. SKYFALL

Casino Royale is considered to be one of the best Bond films. And it is really good. But a lot of people hated the sequel, Quantum of Solace. But with a better cast that includes Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem, along with a better story and no ties to either of the previous two Bond films makes Skyfall one of the year's most anticipated. The story sounds fantastic, with Bond's loyalty to M being tested as MI5 comes under attack. We have had to wait a long time for Skyfall to hit the screen with MGM's bankruptcy. When Skyfall hits, we'll finally be able to determine whether it was a total bust or as good as Goldfinger, which it has been compared to by some cast members. NOVEMBER 9.

6. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy is in my opinion, three of the best superhero films ever made. I even like Spider-Man 3, which is highly disliked. When I heard that Columbia was dumping Raimi and Maguire for a complete reboot, I was not happy. I even hated the first half of the trailer. Then, I saw the Spider-Man POV at the end and I was hooked. It looked awesome. Now, I know the storyline is being called by comic book fans as being "closer to the comic". I think that the storyline sounds pretty weird. Advertising as the untold story is probably not the smartest move. But I like the prospects as Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and a grittier story. And that's why I'm excited for this movie. JULY 3.

7. SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

One of the year's most ambitious projects is a twist on the tale of Snow White that most people would find ridiculous. Snow White as a warrior princess fighting the evil queen? A lot of people will definitely question this film. But I saw the trailer and I was totally excited. The casting is excellent, especially Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. There are a lot of fairy tale movie adaptations coming out in 2012, but this is definitely the must see out of the group. JUNE 1.

8. WRECK-IT RALPH

We haven't seen anything from Wreck-It Ralph yet. But all I had to hear was one sentence and I knew that this would be a must see. Basically, Wreck-It Ralph is Toy Story with video games. And considering Toy Story and it's sequels are some of the greatest movies ever, another Disney movie with toys coming to life is something to be excited for. One doubt I have about the film is that Pixar has nothing to do with the film and all of Disney computer animated films have not been great. But the prospects of this film definitely have me excited. NOVEMBER 2.

9. BATTLESHIP

Maybe I'm the only person in the world that's excited for this movie. But if you've read my review of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, you would know that I love these kinds of movies. Battleship is based off the board game but it has a twist. It now has aliens. A lot of people are going to roll their eyes at this movie but I think it looks really cool. The only thing I'm not excited about is that Rihanna is in it. DON'T PUT SINGERS IN MOVIES! But otherwise, Battleship looks great.

10. G.I. JOE: RETALIATION

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has some of the best visuals I've seen in a movie that's not Transformers. But it also has one of the worst scripts. The original was not well received so Paramount scrapped the director and cast and put in two big time action stars (Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis) and director Jon Chu. The action looks grittier, and the plot looks cooler. Channing Tatum is in the film but not as much. Dwayne Johnson saved the Fast and the Furious franchise, but can he save G.I. Joe too? JUNE 29.

11. JOHN CARTER

The biggest risk of the year lies in Disney's John Carter. Based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs book series that nobody seems to remember, John Carter must make $700 million worldwide to earn a sequel. And unfortunately, while I think that it looks interesting and fun, I don't think John Carter will be a success. But doesn't mean it won't be a good movie. While the first trailer was horrid, the second was much better and preview screenings have gotten positive buzz. I think that some aspects looks fantastic, while others not so much. John Carter is going to be the biggest hit or miss of 2012. MARCH 9.

12. WRATH OF THE TITANS

2010's Clash of the Titans was terrible. I have interest in the sequel because it looks to be the complete opposite of that movie. While Clash of the Titans had to respect the source material of the original film, Wrath of the Titans is a completely original film. The film looks grittier, and better. The monsters look awesome and the special effects will be better than Clash of the Titans. It will be hard for Wrath of the Titans to be worse than Clash of the Titans. Nobody is looking forward to this film, but it think it might surprise people by being really good. MARCH 30.

13. JACK THE GIANT KILLER

I'm not a huge Bryan Singer fan. I didn't like the first X-men film and Superman Returns. But I'm still excited for Singer's latest because it looks like a cool movie. I'm not sure what he's going to do with the concept, because the trailer revealed no plot points at all. Overall, this is another film with loads of potential, but it depends on what Singer does with it.

14. THE BOURNE LEGACY

The Bourne movies are three of the most successful spy movies of all time. But without Matt Damon, this series may have lost it's footing. I'm not going to go into The Bourne Legacy thinking that it is going to be a good movie. I'm going in with low expectations. The reason I have any hopes for the movie at all is because Jeremy Renner, who is taking over for Matt Damon, was fantastic in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Renner has yet to be the star of an action blockbuster and this film may decide has fate as a leading man or a side player. AUGUST 3.

15. WORLD WAR Z

The final film on my list is World War Z. Supposedly, director Marc Forster has changed a lot of Max Brooks' novel. But for people who haven't read the book, there's no reason not to be excited about World War Z (unless you don't like zombies). It has a zombie war, Brad Pitt, coming off a career best performance in Moneyball and more zombies. There are two zombie movies coming out this year, the other being Warm Bodies, but this film sounds 100 times more awesome. DECEMBER 21.

Other films I look forward to seeing: Men In Black 3, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, This Means War, The Woman in Black, Cloud Atlas, Brave, Rise of the Guardians, Gravity

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2011: A Year In Review

2011 was a great year. We had the end of the Harry Potter franchise, big-budget action flicks, four superhero films, lots of comedies, and a few surprises. But which were the 10 best films and the 5 worst this year? The fifteen flicks I am about to name fit that category. Here are the 10 best and 5 worst films of 2011.

TOP TEN

1. SUPER 8

A wonderful homage to Steven Spielberg. The best part of the film is the story. In the age of big-budget alien invasion flicks, this one stands out because it has a great emotional core to it. It has a bunch of great actors, genuine thrills, and heart. Definitely the best film of 2011.

2. THE MUPPETS

Without a doubt, the funniest movie of the year. The entire 103 minutes of the film will you have you laughing. There is not a single thing about this film that's not funny. Jason Segal and co. have made a Muppet film that feels funny and fresh while appealing to both adults and children. The best comedy of 2011.

3. WAR HORSE

Steven Spielberg's War Horse is one of the best of the year for many reasons. I've narrowed it down to two. The emotional core of the film is wonderful. I'm not an animal lover, but that was just great. Spielberg does it perfectly, having the interaction between Albert and Joey last long enough so that you care, but not so long that there is no time to do anything else. The other reason is the horrific war sequences, that are definitely horrific, but not so violent that it would not have been PG-13. Best editing of the year in this film and another instant Spielberg classic.

4. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE- GHOST PROTOCOL

Ghost Protocol is one of the best action movies I've seen in a long time. It's smart, and gives you no time to slow down and relax. It continually gives you action scene after action scene. And the action scenes are extraordinary. Tom Cruise climbing the Burj Khalifa is pure adrenaline. The film also leaves room for some comic relief in the form of Benji (Simon Pegg). The plot isn't the best, but when you have some of the most brilliant action scenes of the year, it doesn't need to be.

5. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER

My personal favorite of the Avengers prequels is Captain America for two reasons. Firstly, it's fast paced. The film has non-stop action and a good plot. It also has a fantastic setting. The World War II setting is awesome. The action is a nice blend of war action and sci-fi action. The acting is great and Tommy Lee Jones's portrayal of Chester Phillips belongs with Tony Stark as the best performance from these prequels.

6. TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

I love the Transformer films. While I know people hate them because of the plots, I think that they are awesome summer popcorn films. This one stands out to me because it manages to forget the mediocre Revenge of the Fallen and deliver a better mystery and a lot more action. The special effects are breathtaking and if the effects don't win an Oscar, I'll be shocked. The acting is mediocre as usual, but if you're looking for The King's Speech, you are not in the right movie. This is a purely great summer popcorn movie.

7. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2

I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and it was great watching it opening day at the theater. It was an awesome experience. But the more I watch this film on DVD, the more I question how great it truly is. Was it a great movie or was it what that the movies were ending and we were so emotionally involved in the films that we automatically thought it was great? I'm going with the 2nd option here. I'm not saying that Deathly Hallows-Part 2 was a bad movie; it was far from it. What I'm saying is that it was not as great as we thought it was when we first watched it, because half of the movie is what we bring to it. Overall, Deathly Hallows and the Harry Potter movies overall was a truly great experience that is one of the best film franchises of all time.

8. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

An unexpected surprise came with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Nobody thought this movie would be any good, but it turned to be one of the summer's best. The star of this film is Andy Serkis, who delivers an awesome performance as Caesar. The action sequence on the Golden Gate bridge is one of the best action scenes of the year. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a smart action thriller that unexpectedly delivered and was a hidden gem found in the typical trash of August.

9. CARS 2

A lot of people hate Cars 2. Okay, the plot is Pixar's weakest. There is no good heart to the film. In fact, there is no emotional core at all. Mater does get annoying but I love the spy element in this film. And while this may be the worst of the Pixar films, it still is pretty good.

10. HUGO

Hugo is one of the best movies of the year because it combines two great elements. It has a great fantasy element and great drama. This is a love letter to cinema mixed in with in with a fantasy film. Martin Scorsese delivers his first kids film and it is a great one.

BOTTOM 5


1. GREEN LANTERN

By far the year's most disappointing film. Walking into Green Lantern, I wasn't expecting The Dark Knight, but I never thought it would be as awful as it was. At the least, I was hoping for an enjoyable action and CGI-fest but it didn't happen. The story was terrible, and the action even worse. This film lost a lot of money and I hope that the next Green Lantern film is a complete reboot.

2. COWBOYS AND ALIENS

Finishing close to Green Lantern, Cowboys and Aliens is another horrible summer blockbuster that disappointed on so many levels. The first half of Cowboys is Aliens is actually pretty good, with some good thrills and drama. Then after Olivia Wilde comes out of that fire, it was downhill from there. The mediocre action, acting and story don't help that really bad plot twist. I give Favreau credit for trying and original film, but this one fails in many ways.

3. RIO

The second half of Rio is actually pretty good. It has fun dance numbers, action, and the qualities of a good animated movie. But the fact Rio's first half is such a dreadful, boring mess keeps it from being a decent film. Too many characters, too much focus on color and bright and bubbly animation, and not enough story. Overall, some fun musical numbers but overall Rio is just bland.

4. PUSS IN BOOTS

I wasn't expecting much from Puss in Boots. The last two Shrek films were horrid, but for some reason, I went to see this movie. I was pretty much waiting for it to be over. The animation is the best so far from a Dreamworks animation film, but the story is disengaging and paper-thin. Some of the action scenes are fun, but it doesn't end in the right place, and drags on too long. Another poor addition to the Shrek series.

5. THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN

I was expecting a lot from Tintin. Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson making a movie together that is similar to Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was in all the way. But the fact that Tintin, despite it's awesome animation, is so boring, is just plain disappointing. Tintin is leagues away from Raiders and has a pretty lame script. The dream team of Edgar Wright, Steven Moffat, and Joe Cornish really disappointed me with this movie.


Honorable mentions for Top Ten: Thor, Fast Five, X-Men: First Class, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Honorable mentions for Bottom Five: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Mr. Popper's Penguins

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol review

Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol is the fourth installment in the popular spy installment. The third film was pretty well received but did mediocre at the box office. So, for the fourth installment, Paramount kept the third film's director JJ Abrams as a producer, brought in Brad Bird as director and added some star power with Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton. Does this make a recipe for success? The answer is a definite yes.

Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt, who is currently in a Russian prison. Jane Carter (Paula Patton) and his friend Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) help him break out of jail, so that he can help them research a man with the code name of Cobalt. They are given orders to break into the Kremlin and learn that Cobalt is actually a man named Hendricks who has Russian nuclear codes and is trying to start a war. Then Hendricks blows up the Kremlin. The secretary (Tom Wilkinson) tells Ethan that the blame for the incident has pointed to his team and that the rest of the IMF has been shut down and Ghost Protocol is in effect. Hunt's mission is to follow Hendricks and stop him before he starts a war. Then the secretary is killed forcing Ethan and an analyst named Brandt (Jeremy Renner) to escape. Soon, the group; Benji, Jane, Brandt, and Ethan, are off to Dubai to stop Hendricks and prevent a nuclear war.

Ghost Protocol's plot isn't revolutionary, but solid enough to make a good movie. It's a pretty standard plot for an action blockbuster. The pacing for the film is perfect. It is constantly giving you action scene after action scene and keeping you on the edge of you seat. There are some sequences where the film slows down for some dialogue but it's assisted by good comic relief from Benji and Brandt. Brandt's backstory is handled very well, so that it's not really a subplot of the film, but rather just another part of the story. The casting choices and acting is perfect. I hope that they keep Patton, Renner, and Pegg for another Mission Impossible film.

The film's real star is the action. From the beginning scene at the prison breakout to the end credits, we are treated to countless action scenes. There are lots of amazing action sequences in the film. There is the highly advertised Burj Khalifa sequence which is awesome and breathtaking. The end sequence in the parking garage is great and includes a lot of cool stunts. My favorite was a exciting chase sequence in the middle of a sandstorm.

Now, back to the Burj Khalifa sequence. If Cruise really did do that, I'm ridiculously impressed because there is some crazy stuff in that scene. I did not see the film in IMAX but I can't imagine how great it was in that format. The sequence is awe-inspiring, and has you on the edge of your seat.

This is a great action film. It's one of the best I've seen this year. This is the only Mission: Impossible movie I've seen but all I know is that it was great. I hope that the bring back Brad Bird as director because he did a fantastic job. I can't wait to see a Mission Impossible 5. So if you're looking for an awesome action blockbuster this winter, go see Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol, one of the best of 2011.

THE FINAL GRADE:  A+                                           (10/10)


The Adventures of Tintin review

The Adventures of Tintin is one of director Steven Spielberg's two movies out this year (the other is War Horse). Tintin is a massively popular comic brand in Europe and the film is already raked in over $200 million overseas. I've never read or even looked at a Tintin comic book, so I was unsure how much I would like this movie. But with Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Andy Serkis, and what looked like an Indiana Jones-like adventure, I was excited about the prospects of the film. I can't say it met my expectations.

The Adventures of Tintin stars Jamie Bell as Tintin, a young reporter, who just happens to have an apartment, a job, and a gun. Go figure. One day at a market, he buys a model ship and soon a bunch of people come up to Tintin and offer him money for the ship. One of the people is the villain, Sakharine (Daniel Craig). Tintin discovers that there is a clue to a treasure lost at sea. Soon, Tintin and his dog, Snowy are kidnapped and escape Sakharine's ship with the help of Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis). Soon, the trio are on an adventure to stop Sakharine from finding the treasure. 

The Adventures of Tintin uses motion capture in one of it's best uses yet. Tintin and this past summer's Rise of the Planet of the Apes prove that there is still life in motion capture and that it's wasn't finished with 2011's Mars needs Moms. The animation is highly detailed and the settings are very good. The Adventures of Tintin also has some pretty good thrills for a kids movie. There are multiple chases scenes and while some are thrilling, others feel repetitive and dull.

Unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good in The Adventures of Tintin. The so-called screenwriting "dream team" of Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish have created the weakest part of the film: the story. The story is just bad. It gives you no good reason to stick with the story and see the film through until the end. It's paper thin. It's boring. And a real disappointment.

Tintin has been compared to director Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark. The film is nowhere even close to that film. Raiders makes you stick to the story and keep watching until the end because you want Indy to defeat the Nazis and find the ark and get the girl. Tintin doesn't make you want Tintin to get the treasure and beat Sakharine. You don't care if Tintin dies. You don't care about any of the characters. It doesn't make you care about the story. Maybe it's because I haven't read the books and don't know the Tintin character. But all I know is that it definitely was boring to me.

I could be pretty harsh to Tintin and give it a worse grade than what I'm going to give it. But I'm going to give the film the benefit of the doubt and say that it wasn't that bad. It was just kind of boring to watch. I think Tintin is a great film for pre-teens but anyone older will not appreciate the lackluster story.