Friday, November 30, 2012

Bloodsport (1988) Review:

Jean-Claude Van Damme is known for his athletic and flexible abilities. But for some that may feel that they do not see enough, should see this movie for that reason alone. The physical look of Van Damme is just one marvel alone. There is no muscle line that isn't visible on his torso because it is so well toned. Also while fighting, Van Damme makes some crazy looking faces.

A very young & fit Van Damme
Van Damme plays Frank Dux, a man with a background in martial arts and military combat. The character, Frank Dux, is actually a real person and amazingly enough, Dux was the man to train Van Damme and get him ready for his role in this movie! Dux's history is shown to us in the very beginning of the film where we see a boy who is taken under the wing of a martial artist. From there he trains with him until he is old enough to participate in the Kumite. The Kumite is a world tournament that has fighters come from all corners of the earth to compete in the ultimate competition to be called the world's greatest fighter.
Dux's toughest opponent, Chong Li (Bolo Yeung)

The hardest thing to deal with this tournament is that any possible way of winning the match is allowed. Some of the things done against opponents are can get the blood boiling because it shows how players are willing to do anything to win. It's the perfect reason why the title of this film is called "Bloodsport".

However, because Dux is enlisted in the military, he is not allowed to par-take in such events; but this does not discourage him. Actors Norman Burton and Forest Whitaker play the two gentlemen, who try and catch him. But there is no point to having these characters in this story. It's not that they're obnoxious but they don't encourage the plot to move on. All they do is slow it down or completely stop it in its tracks.

Fighting in the ring along with Van Damme's character is Ray Jackson, played by the husky and rather giant Donald Gibb. At first, in the beginning of the film, I was almost convinced that Jackson was going to be the main enemy but he turned out to be likable and reliable friend to Frank Dux. And although, Jackson is clumsy now and then, he still packs one heck of a punch. He knocked out an opponent with one knock on the head! That's tough!

Another part I didn't understand why they didn’t include this character enough was Janice Kent performed by Leah Ayres. Fine and dandy that she becomes Dux's love interest and spends one night with him. But after that she's left in the corner and never talked about again. Why? If she's going to play an important role, make it important, not just 3/4 of the way through the movie! The music, by Paul Hertzog was a good touch though. The tunes had a strong zen feel and at points where Dux was super focused, it almost felt like you're there with him too.

Bloodsport contains the blood it promises and has impressive fighting matches. Now if only the crew could figure out what to do with the minor characters. But the rest is entertaining all the same.

Points Earned --> 8:10

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Big Trouble in Little China (1986) Review:

It's really hard to comprehend how proficient talent goes to waste so easily. Big Trouble in Little China has a lot of good actors yet there's so much that doesn't work. Never have I witnessed such a catastrophe before in a movie screenplay. There was absolutely no continuity in the plot. And some viewers may feel totally lost half the time while watching this.

The talent of this film belongs to Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall and Dennis Dun. All these actors do their job well but nothing is original nor is it entertaining. Kurt Russell plays Jack Burton, a selfish truck driver who has no intent on helping anyone else but himself. Cattrall plays Gracie Law, who seems to be Burton's ex-girlfriend even though they both end up together again anyway. But what really made it confusing was how on and off these two characters were. One scene they're up in each other’s faces, the next they're sharing hugs. Please make up your mind people!

Russell surrounded awkwardly
Dennis Dun plays Wang Chi, Burton's friend who has his girlfriend kidnapped and is to be sacrificed to an evil sorcerer named David Lo Pan, acted by James Hong. Now it's up to Burton and Chi to save his girl. Another thing that just didn't match here was that Kurt Russell is the star of this film, yet his character is given second place. The character of Jack Burton may be tough and snotty but he's always one step behind everyone else. Why is this? If he's the main character, he should be the one taking charge of rescuing Chi's girlfriend, not some other character. This principle applies for my review of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) and Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011).

A scene that just doesn't make any sense in continuity
Another thing that constantly screamed at me while I watched this film was the execution of action scenes. It takes a lot of effort to try and stick to what's going on in this film! There were multiple times where scenes abruptly ended and began something else in the same place. For example, Burton and Chi become stranded in an alley when out of nowhere two Asian groups clash with guns firing and knives throwing. And Burton and Chi are just watching this from the cabin of a truck and no one bothers to get out and do something? What's going on here? Will this affect the outcome of the movie - no; so why have it?

However I will give credit to director John Carpenter for having some unique set designs and special effects but that's all I'm giving him. There's no specific direction in the execution of the plot. The audience is just bombarded with random scenes that have Russell, Dun and Cattrall falling through trap doors and crawling into thin spaces trying to escape danger, until finally it reaches its finale. Not fun. I'm surprised that one of the writers, Gary Goldman was allowed to write for any films after this; especially Total Recall (1990), which was a good film! It's unfortunate because I really wanted to enjoy this movie but I couldn't.

Director John Carpenter has a knack for doing some amazing things in filmmaking but Big Trouble in Little China just doesn't give the same performance like the ones that came before it. The placement of characters don't make sense and the execution is poor.

Points Earned --> 4:10

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Beetlejuice (1988) Review:

Never have I seen a horror comedy like Beetlejuice before. I'm not quite sure if it's because of the PG rating or just how director Tim Burton made the character of Beetlejuice so lovable. Alec Baldwin (Adam Maitland) and Geena Davis (Barbara Maitland) play a married couple who end up dying within the first 15 minutes of the movie. They soon realize that they indeed are dead and can't escape their house. To make matters worse, their house is intruded by a new family called the Deetz who start rearranging all their personal things. When the Maitlands try to spook the family, they realize they're not recognized. So what's their solution - calling on Beetlejuice, played by Michael Keaton.

Baldwin & Davis as the helpless ghost couple
What is Michael Keaton when it comes to this character? To start off, he is filthy, vulgar, and has a bad case of gingivitis; but no termites like the Grinch. Although all of these aspects are unappealing, there is something to love about Beetlejuice. What to love is the personality. Beetlejuice's personality is funny and crude because what would you do if you've lived through the black plague and seen the exorcist about 167 times? If I was him, I'd be bored with myself by now but somehow Keaton puts life into this character like he just died yesterday. Just like The Mask (1994) who wear's a banana yellow suit to a dance club, Beetlejuice's signature wardrobe clothing is a striped black and white tux; pretty attractive for a dead guy.

Keaton as the "bug-eyed" comedy ghoul
Some other great parts from this movie are the make-up effects. Many times during this movie you will see other dead specters. What's funny about these ghosts is that the way they died is they way they're portrayed so you know exactly how they died. A man wearing a chicken- eating bib has a chicken leg stuck in his throat. A man is flat as a poster board because along his front side is a tire track. That's one of the fun parts of this movie.

Another great element in this film is the score composed and conducted by Danny Elfman. Just Beetlejuice's theme song is enough to get the goosebumps going. It's not a haunting melody but it's so catchy that you're bound to start jumping around. And that's exactly what Beetlejuice does; he's always hopping around on screen.

Director Tim Burton has definitely created a movie that is not like any other horror flick. With comedy coming first before horror, Beetlejuice will definitely deliver the laughs and some chills along the way.

Points Earned --> 10:10

Monday, November 26, 2012

Backdraft (1991) Review:

Fires should always come to mind when the word fire fighter is mentioned. But what do they really experience? How intense can the fires be? Watching Backdraft will not only answer those questions but it will also open your eyes to a new perspective. This is one hell of a film to see. Never have I seen action scenes so intense. Adding to the strong action sequences are the powerful performances by the lead actors.

William Baldwin, Kurt Russell & Scott Glenn
Kurt Russell and upcoming star William Baldwin play two brothers who argue repetitively due to their troubled childhood. This issue is established at the beginning of the film, which then sets the tone for the rest of the movie. What's even more amazing is how convincing these actors do this job. You actually look at the characters like they're real people and not just another actor on screen. The more you watch this movie, the more you will become convinced that they do fire fighting for a living. It's that believable. Co-starring with Baldwin and Russell are these well-known actors: Robert De Niro, Donald Sutherland, and Scott Glenn.

Robert De Niro
So what is it about these action sequences? Well of course they're going to involve fires! But what makes these scenes work is how the fires are filmed. There are parts where you see flames creep along the floor in slow motion and there are other times where the fire fighters are engulfed by fire, that there's nothing else on screen. Some sound effects in the explosions are different and intriguing as well. You would almost think for split second, do raging fires really create that kind of sound?

Even more profound, is the soundtrack in this movie. The film score was composed and conducted by Hans Zimmer. Right from the beginning of the film, he starts out with a song that brings such an honorable look at fire fighters and what they do. Along with its good cast and progression of bigger fire hazards, it really makes the movie all the more influential. It's so good, it may even inspire some viewers to join or volunteer their time to their local fire station/squad.

Backed by powerful performances, big explosions and a moving soundtrack, Backdraft is the fire fighter movie to see before all others. It will also give the viewer a better appreciation for their local career and volunteer men and women.

Points Earned --> 10:10

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) Review:

From the early 90s to the beginning of the 21rst century, Disney has made some pretty spectacular animated films. Many of them have been some strong box office hits. Well here's another film that'll blow your socks off. Atlantis the Lost Empire is visually a sight to behold. Why? Mostly because of its action sequences. There are so many different action sequences that'll keep the viewer staring at the screen because everything is done differently from Disney's previous films.

Milo Thatch, voiced by Michael J. Fox
Note: for any Disney fan, this movie contains a good amount of action/violence. If you check out the MPAA rating, you will see why. It is actually pretty violent for a Disney movie. That's just an FYI for any viewer. Going back to what I was saying though, the action scenes are quite interesting because some scenes look like they're close to 3D. Of course they don't look 3D to the point of coming out of the screen but the way the pictures flow is so smooth and well developed that it looks 3D.

The story revolves around a wimp named Milo Thatch, played by Michael J. Fox looks to find the lost city of Atlantis. Fox was the perfect pick for Milo Thatch because his voice does not sound that authoritative. It is not until Preston Whitmore voiced by John Mahoney, tells him how he lost a bet to Thatch's grandfather where he must fund the exploration of Atlantis.

Thatch aboard his expedition....
From here this sets up an introduction to a whole list of voice actors that do a magnificent job in making their characters come to life. To name a couple; James Garner, Leonard Nemoy, Don Novello and Claudia Christian all play characters that resemble them in some way. This is another strong feature to this movie. The voice characterizations are done perfectly. I have to say that my favorite character from this movie was Vincenzo Santorini (Don Novello). Novello uses his voice from "Father Guido Sarducci" to make this character work, and I will say that he is what makes up most of the comedic parts in this movie. For example: Milo Thatch is showing some civilians how to start a carp shaped vehicle of some sort. Novello's character then asks, "Hey Milo, you got something sporty? You know, like a tuna". I couldn't stop laughing after that moment for about 5 minutes.

Although it is one of Disney's more violent renditions, it pleases with eye opening visuals and fantastic voice-overs. With this at hand, Disney has yet again created another fun piece of film work.

Points Earned --> 10:10

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Astro Boy (2009) Review:

Before Astro Boy was ever released in theatres, it used to be a television show that aired in Japan. And just like any other television show, sooner or later it turned into a movie. Thankfully, Astro Boy wasn't filmed in live-action. Who knows how that could've turned out. What we do know from past experiences, is that live-action cartoon adaptations have high failure probability. This is not always true, but for the majority, it is.

Astro Boy is his 3D rendering
Astro Boy is the story of an ordinary child who is turned into a cybernetic organism from his science-whiz father. Freddie Highmore plays the character of Astro Boy and his voice doesn't sound out of place so that's a plus. Dr. Tenma is Astro Boy's father and he is voiced by Nicolas Cage. It's an interesting choice actually because it's believable. But if listened to close enough, one can imagine Cage talking into the microphone. Same goes for the villain, President Stone, who is voiced by Donald Sutherland. In general, the cast is great but it's funny how practically none of them changed how they spoke.

Dr. Tenma & his big nosed assistant.....& President Stone
The animation in this film is also a treat to look at. Much of the objects are round and have lots of curves and swoops. Even some of the characters are funny looking. Dr. Tenma's assistant has a clown nose! What's also good looking are the colors and the architecture of the buildings and machines. Because this is a futuristic world, there are all sorts of sparkly new gadgets. Not to mention, Astro Boy's gadgets will add to the spectacle of the film.

As for the plot goes, it's a mix of ideas. The are two movies I can make a clear connection to. The first is I, Robot (2004), because whenever a robot was not needed, it would be banished from the land, where it would rust with all its other counterparts before it. The other movie that's similar to this is Demolition Man (1993). There are two places to live, paradise and poverty. Both films share these ideas. And this is the component that I found unoriginal. Also at the beginning of the film was depressing because Dr. Tenma didn't pay attention to his son and later on abandoned him (temporarily). This can make the audience wonder, "Is this really for children". But as the film approaches its finale, it brings back its jolly nature.

The plot is unoriginal and it may seem upsetting for the beginning of the film but in the end, it will please its fans. Making Astro Boy even more enjoyable is the voice cast and colorful visuals.

Points Earned --> 8:10

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Annapolis (2006) Review:

The military world is always portrayed differently than the world most of us live in currently. And it's important that it is done with respect and dignity; to show us non-military personnel what our men and women in the army go through to be the best. This movie, directed by Justin Lin mirrors that well (training wise) but I'm not sure about much else. Lin's direction everywhere else was all over the place and he couldn't seem to make the main character tell us what he truly was trying to become. Plus, writer David Collard has so many unfinished subplots that the audience will feel a very empty feeling by the finale.

Franco & his awkward face
Annapolis is the name of an academy that James Franco's character, Jake Huard wants to join. This is because of a promise he makes to his mother who passed away before he could join. But what's never explained to us is why he's joining. Is he joining to serve his country? Maybe just to prove himself to others that he can be better than where he is now? Or is it to improve his physical strength so he can be a better boxer? We're never given an answer.

Then there's the issue of multiple subplots. Huard has personal problems between him and his father played by Brian Goodman. He also is trying to get into a relationship with a military chick (Jordana Brewster) he originally mistook as a prostitute, who somehow still has the nerve to talk to him after being assumed that. Along with that is Huard's friend, Twins (Vicellous Shannon) who is attempting to overcome his large figure so he can pass a specific test. And together with them is another friend, Loo (Roger Fan) who is a real stickler to the rules. Lastly is the bumping heads between Huard and Cole (Tyrese Gibson).

Most of the film is really focused on this boxing match....
Yes that's a lot of subplots! And guess what? By the end of the film, only two of these subplots are actually completed. The rest are left hanging up in the air to dry. The audience will never know what happened to some specific characters because Mr. Collard didn't seem to find this needed to be written in the script. What? I think I can agree on saying that the audience always loves a well-written story as long as the subplots are finished as well.

What I did appreciate is how the training was displayed. Yes, it is a vigorous and tiring string of exercises and that is shown perfectly here. Brian Tyler's music was well appreciated too even though I did not find it bringing up the tone of the story. And I couldn't stand the negative energy that was being thrusted upon me by Gibson's character. In a sense, it felt like grown-up bullying and it was all directed towards Huard, and everyone suffered for it. Why does this training academy have its nose so high up in the air? My god.

Annapolis does not inspire no matter how hard it tries to. The film has no direction and weakly written script. The music and visual aids of training are the only thing worth seeing.

Points Earned --> 5:10

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Alaska (1996) Review:

Ever wonder what it's like to travel through Alaska? If you're curious, now you can experience the magnitude of the scenery that is Alaska by watching this film. The movie Alaska, is a family adventure film that involves two children, Jesse and Sean Barnes on the hunt to find their lost father. How did he get lost? As a pilot, the kids' father, Jake Barnes (Dirk Benedict) flies straight into a storm and crash lands into a mountain where he struggles to survive as his children look to find him.

An older Dirk Benedict
It's amazing because even when the story is not revolving around the adventurous children, the scenery everywhere is so beautiful. This is one of the strong points of this film. Another key part to this movie is a polar bear cub that runs into the Barnes kids and ends up trying to help locate their dad. This bear cub always reminds me of the polar bears from those coke commercials. Besides of what I think it could belong to, he is very cuddly looking. I'm also curious to how director Fraser Heston was able to get this animal to cooperate. I'm sure it's not easy to tame a wild animal. This cub must have been pre-trained some how.

How did they get that shot???
To make things even more interesting, poachers are on the move as well. Yes, there are other things on the hunt than the Barnes kids. So what are these guys looking for? If you're thinking the polar bear cub, you're absolutely right! So there are two conflicts here, Jesse and Sean have to find their father AND protect the bear cub from the dangerous poachers. The plot thickens!

Many times while watching this movie I was on the edge of my seat because there were many moments of tension. These kinds of situations are brought up when many of the characters are involved with heights. Because a lot of Alaska is made of mountains, many of the scenes in this movie include climbing up steep hills and sailing across cold running rivers. Some scenes can be really gripping due to the slightest movement a character makes on screen. It is that suspenseful.

Alaska is a wholesome adventure for both young and old. It's tale of courage and persistence is what keeps the audience watching from the scenic backgrounds to the most intense moments of conflict.

Points Earned --> 8:10

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) Review:

A year before this sequel, we were introduced to Ace Ventura; a rude, wise cracking pet detective who has the reputation for being the ONLY pet detective. Guess what? He's back and still has every quality he had in the original. I know, it sounds like there's a catch here. Well there is not-at least with Jim Carrey's character.

This, is more funny than,...
I did not like this movie as much as the original for one reason and one reason only. No it wasn't that Courtney Cox didn't reprise her role as Melissa Robinson. That I can deal with. My problem was that the story involved some characters that made Ace Ventura's character seem stupid. What made the original funny was that Ace Ventura was on top of his game. He knew what he was doing and how he was doing it. What also made it funny was that nobody ELSE knew what he was doing and although it seemed strange, Ventura got the job done. This occurred throughout the entire first film. And that's how it goes for most of this movie.

The part of the movie that I think either did not need to be added or could have been modified was when Ace Ventura was among the African Tribes. What was so hard for me grasp was that in the first movie, they took a smart crazy detective and put him around a bunch of normal people that understood nothing of what he did. When Ventura is around the Tribe members, he is the dumb crazy detective. Why do I say this? Because Jim Carrey's character does not speak their language. It is this major flaw of why some of the laughs fail in this movie for me.

.......this on screen. Believe me folks.
For example, when Ventura starts to eat the food at the tribe's festival, he does not realize what he was eating until he is told what it really was. I thought Ventura was the smart one here? The whole point of the first film was so that the joke would be on everyone else; now the roles are switched? Why? Does the laugh really need to be on our comedic hero? It was at that point I started to wonder whether Ace really knew what he was doing.

Of course these kinds of instances did not happen all the time. There were many parts where Ventura was surrounded by upper class people who thought they were better than he was and just like the first film he proved them wrong with a snotty remark and an obscene gesture. That's the old Ace I know! That is what made Ace Ventura such a character.

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls is almost a perfect sequel. It still has good laughs but it is dumbed down by its mediocre screenplay. It is because of this that Ace Ventura does not seem always on top of everyone else like he was in the first film.

Points Earned --> 7:10

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) Review:

When you go to see a comedy, most of us expect to see something so unusual that we will burst out laughing. Many times it's to the point of where you start getting cramps in your stomach. That's what I got when I first saw this film and I still do every time I watch it! Jim Carrey's first starring role as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective may seem obnoxious to some but to others, he is the definition of a living cartoon. Much of Carrey's humor is relied on body movements which does an excellent job at keeping the audience curious to what he really is doing.

Jim Carrey in his most hilarious character role
Although the character of Ace Ventura is quite rude; it's a kind rudeness because of his knowledge as a detective. There are so many parts of the film where people put down Ventura as a loser who really doesn't have an occupation because he IS the only pet detective. But he uses this to his advantage because he is also very smart aside from his wise cracks. For those people in the movie that chastise Ventura's actions, they are all proved wrong by his wit and reason.

Courtney Cox & Tone Loc
Director Tom Shadyac is brilliant for picking Carrey. It almost seems like Carrey was just told by Shadyac to "do whatever you feel like doing on screen". Everything looks genuine on film and nothing looks like it was really directed. This is good though because this is how Carrey's character worked. It focused more on impulse than directionality.

Co-starring with Carrey is Courtney Cox. She acts her part out well too and of course because of Carrey's antics, Cox's character and many others are forced to always be a step behind. This is what makes Ace Ventura's character so effective. To think that Ace Ventura was written into the script as just a stupid character that has no idea of what he's doing would be a complete folly. Instead of a comedy having dumb fun, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective has smart fun.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective may seem silly, but it is packed with intelligent dialog and unforeseen humor that no one will ever experience until being introduced to this film. From funny motions to clever conversations, Jim Carrey lays on heavy slap-stick to create multiple laughs.

Points Earned --> 10:10

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Walk to Remember (2002) Review:

Nicholas Sparks is known for writing several stories that really tug on the heartstrings. And for this novel adaptation, it is no surprise that A Walk to Remember should please its audience at a high level. The story is about a young man who has lost his place in the world. That is, until he runs into a person he never thought to expect to change his life for the better. Not to mention, everything else around him brightens up as well.

Mandy Moore as Jamie Sullivan
Shane West stars as Landon Carter, a stuck up selfish high school senior who hangs with the wrong crowd until he soon learns there's more than meets the eye to people you only pass by in the hallway. West's acting is well done and making him the delinquent character was accurate for his look. Mandy Moore, plays Mr. Carter's soon to be love interest Jamie Sullivan, a nerdy yet very attractive co-star. Moore's performance was even more amiable. Her face, her voice and even her hair style played a significant role in making her the most simple-looking but complex character.

 Shane West as Landon Carter
Even the rest of the cast has its charm. Carter's best friend Eric, played by Al Thompson is funny for his interest in women and his ability to be serious when he needs too. Even Dean (Clayne Crawford), who plays a loose cannon at first, becomes less self centered as time progresses. All of this and more are accounted for because of how the story works. Karen Janszen, who adapted this book, did a great job with the screenplay. Yes, this movie has its ups and downs but that's what a true romance genre film will involve. What else would you expect? Nothing is ever perfect.

Mervyn Warren's soundtrack to the movie also works. It's not there all the time in the film but when it is heard, it will evoke the emotion audiences will want to feel at the moment on the screen. Going back to the screenplay though, the way West and Moore work together is really convincing. The way they played off each other was fun and pure in a sense of what love should be like for anyone who loves another individual. That fact that Sullivan turns Carter into a better person is gratifying alone! If the world were like this everywhere, heck, everyone's life would be even better than where it stands now.

The story, music and characters are all strung together in one big blanket of sweetness. This Nicholas Sparks book adaptation is sure to please any audience.

Points Earned --> 10:10

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Doll's House (1973) Review:

As the new generations come into this world, it is important for them to understand how society has evolved. It's important to know how long it took for various races and individuals to earn their credibility with its community. I was always told how women were treated centuries ago. Much of it was through reading articles and other author's personal experiences. But it was not until I saw this film that I realized in ninety minutes how a woman was regarded solely as an asset and/or eye candy. And that's what this film does; give an accurate feel for how much power women had in society.

Claire Bloom as Nora
The story is about a woman, Nora Helmer, who takes a gamble to try and help her husband and ends up having it backfire on her. Actress Claire Bloom plays Nora Helmer. From start to finish, I liked her performance and how the attitude of her character gradually changed over time. Anthony Hopkins plays Nora's husband, Torvald. There's no doubt that the acting in this film is good. Anthony Hopkins is a very proficient actor. Any character that I've seen him portray is always interesting to watch and from what I’ve observed, he keeps the audience glued to the screen.

A very young Anthony Hopkins as Torvald
What surprised me the most was how other female characters in this story talked about how they "needed" to serve others. In my opinion, it was almost as if they had been brainwashed. An example of this was the character of Kristine Linde played by actress Anna Massey. The personality of Linde is almost callous in nature. I felt this vibe when she explained to Nora, why she did not care that her husband passed away. Seriously? And then she has the nerve to say that she is depressed because she has no one to work for. I have an idea, why don't you go out into the world and find yourself a job. Why get married, so all of one's possessions can be taken away, again?!

Centuries ago, a female's main job was to take care of the house and watch the children. A woman could not persuade her husband to do anything because this would jeopardize his masculinity. My question is how? No one will know what made the man of the house change his mind if the persuading happened behind closed doors. It's not like they had security cameras back then or anything. I understand how it could make a man look bad but it's not a life or death situation. Note that I am not criticizing the film, I am criticizing the society of that time.

One component I think that could have been improved in this film was the music. This movie is not an action film so I don't expect a whole lot but I did expect some sort of musical theme. I barely heard anything at all and John Barry composed this music! I really like Barry's work as a musical composer. He has made so many memorable tunes in different films. He also is the creator of all the 007 movie soundtracks. Surely I thought Barry, of all people, would have created something a little bit more intriguing. I guess composers aren’t always inspired to make truly unforgettable works.

Finally, my favorite scene is the ending when Nora talks with her husband about her life and what initiatives she has decided to take upon herself. Everything she said made total sense and what's funny, in weird way, is that it made Torvald so confused, that he didn't know how to react. It was great listening to Nora's words because if men in general, just listen to what women have to say, a door of new perspective will open. Women are not just another object in life. They are human beings. It’s important that everyone realizes they deserve everything a man deserves.

It doesn't have enough music to effectively initiate emotions that are supposed to be created, but as a whole, this film plays out very well with its transparent controversial agenda. It's nostalgic view on life for a woman of its time, will give the audience something to ponder about in the long run.

Points Earned --> 9:10

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Disney's Christmas Carol (2009) Review:

There have been many films based on Charles Dickens' christmas carol and each one has their own way of telling it. This version is no different story wise (obviously). The only things changed were the visuals and tone. There was nothing I didn't like about this film but there were parts that make me question whether this movie was intended for children.

Jim Carrey as the grumpy Mr. Scrooge
The voice cast to this story is pretty remarkable. Just like how Tom Hanks was able to do multiple voices for The Polar Express (2004), Jim Carrey plays Scrooge and various other characters throughout. Along side Carrey is Carey Elwes, Robin Wright, Bob Hoskins and much more. Surprisingly, the audience will be able to identify which actor/actress is doing the voice for whomever the character they are portraying. I suppose the voice characterizations were not needed to be enhanced. But it's blatantly clear whose speaking for whom.

Visually, the film's animation is nothing to scorn at either. Much of the characters, the backgrounds and lighting is accurately spaced, colored and shaded. Perhaps the most colorful spectacle is the transition between the spirits who visit Scrooge during his sleep. But what's extremely odd is how all the animated characters in this movie look like the actors who give them their voice; especially Scrooge! Look closely when he's on screen; Scrooge at the current time, looks like a weathered Jim Carrey and the younger version of Scrooge looks like Carrey as he is now. I'm curious if the animators knew this while making the film.

Carrey also plays the Ghost of Christmas Present
Nevertheless, I am leery about the reactions small children will have if they are given the chance to view this film. Scenes where Marley, Scrooges' partner, pays him a visit from hell, or when the ghost of christmas present dies, is on the edge of being dark. Marley having a lazy eye, or dislocating his jaw? Ehh...not quite sure what those parts were put in for. Comedy? Or the dying ghost of christmas present having a maniacal laugh? That kind of stuff could freak out a child. The ghost of christmas yet to come is always a spooker for kids. I'm surprised Disney went through with it. It's not bad though. I liked the change, but it's not suitable for a child maybe under twelve.

Overall Zemeckis' take on Dickens' christmas carol is visually intriguing and has a great voice cast. All the same, there are some elements in this film that are darker than usual and that’s puzzling especially for Disney.

Points Earned --> 8:10

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Cinderella Story (2004) Review:

There are many ways to tell a story, but only a few of them work as an original piece. It's an odd saying, but it's possible. This version of Cinderella does perform well with updating the material. Yet, every part was still predictable. I don't see the connection. The scenes were original but the order that they came in, were too obvious. How did writer Leigh Dunlap miss that?

Awww...such a gentleman
The story of this movie runs fairly parallel to its predecessors. An attractive female is bullied and annoyed by her stepfamily and "more popular" people in high school. That is, until she runs into the guy of her dreams. Playing the "Cinderella" character (Sam Montgomery), who works constantly at her father's diner, is Hilary Duff. Duff was a great choice because of her girly figure and innocent voice. Her prince charming is Chad Michael Murray and he's also a good choice because of his masculine build and gentle voice. Not to mention, both Duff and Murray look lovely together.

The goof of the film (Byrd)
The rest of the co-stars are wonderful additions too. Dan Byrd is funny as Sam's close friend due to how prone he is at getting himself in awkward situations. Even Sam's diner co-workers have their great moments too. And it's great to see that they are there to support her as well. Jennifer Coolidge was an accurate choice for Sam's stepmother. One of the best parts is when she's swerving on the road and can't show an upset face because her botox treatment did not wear off yet. How embarrassing! And the stepsisters are no better either.

The whole idea of having the original story modernized was an ample touch. Instead of having a fairy godmother and being magically given a dress, she's given a gorgeous dress from a close friend at work. Rather than having the magic spell dissipate, Sam had a timer of when to let her know that she had to leave the dance. And in place of the glass slipper that was left behind, was her cell phone. All the substitutions were amusing to see because they made Sam have an exact "Cinderella" story but without the magic.

The music by Christophe Beck was a nice addition as well. His ability to create the feelings for when they are needed is done pleasingly. One other thing I didn't see possible though was how Murray's character was able to set up search and rescue fliers for the "Cinderella" character that he danced with. Doesn't he have classes? I mean he is a teenager and he's looking for his date but schools don't allow match findings to become public on school walls. How did he get away with that? Is that he that good looking?

The transitions between scenes are quite obvious but the direction is great as a modernized rendition. The characters are welcoming, as is the way the plot follows through.

Points Earned --> 9:10

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Unlawful Entry (1992) Review:

It's hard not to find Kurt Russell doing very tense thriller movies. This movie, Breakdown (1997) and The Mean Season (1985) just to name a few. Personally, The Mean Season (1985) was his best because it was well rounded in every aspect of the story. This movie too, has a lot of tense moments, if not unpleasant but I can't help but feel that there were parts that could have been improved.

Mrs. & Mr. Carr (Stowe & Russell)
The film itself actually displayed a comparison between its plot line and the one of The Cable Guy (1996). But there are key moments that make this thriller better than Jim Carrey's dark comedy. After having their house broken into, Michael Carr (Kurt Russell) and his wife (Madeleine Stowe) decide to have a security system put into their home. Fortunately, they have Peter Davis (Ray Liotta), a local cop who's generous enough to have it done for them with no charge. Or so they think.

Turns out, it’ll charge them more than they’ll be able to handle. The personality of Mr. Davis is almost identical to the character of "The Cable Guy". They're both lonely individuals who just want attention, but go about it in the creepiest and most dangerous ways possible. Davis has some serious mental problems that need to be addressed. Of course, this never is taken care of otherwise, this "thriller" movie would not be as tense as it's claimed to be. Soon things start heading downhill when Davis tries getting close to Mrs. Carr. Carr's credit cards start maxing out, he gets a fine for something he never did, and then ends up being jailed for a crime he was set up on. Sound familiar?

The differences in this comparison are that Carrey is just an obnoxious maniac who just likes screwing up everyone's day. Liotta is a deadly killer, trained in the art of killing. The other contrast is that either situation could happen in real life, but, it's more likely that a case like this occurs involving a violent killer, and not some loony cable installer. So in a sense, the plot hits closer to home because it involves the home directly. A place where everyone lives in the real world.

Ray Liotta as the mentally disturbed Peter Davis
The acting is good too. Russell is believable as usual as is Stowe. Liotta looks like he prepared for his role in this film. His eyes reveal on screen very quickly that his character practically has no soul or conscious. He's that serious. But I am a bit puzzled on a specific detail. Davis had a partner, Roy Cole (Roger E. Mosely), which specifically stated by him for being with him for 7 years. What made Davis crack now? Was he that good at hiding his sick nature for all those years? Or was Cole just extremely oblivious?
My other complaint personally is that I really enjoyed the theme composer James Horner had for the film, but there wasn't enough in beginning of the first couple acts. It wasn't until about halfway through I actually heard creepy tunes being played. And Horner is a guy I like too. After producing other soundtracks with such iconic tones like Glory (1989) and The Rocketeer (1991), I thought I would also find it in this film too. Well my ears didn't totally get what they wanted to hear. Come on Horner!

The main plot is a Xerox copy to that of The Cable Guy (1996), except Liotta's character for being so unforgiving and creating very tense scenes. Besides some minor drawbacks, this thriller is plausible.

Points Earned --> 8:10

Monday, November 12, 2012

Timecop (1994) Review:

Time travel is always a neat concept when it comes to movies. It also can be quite confusing. And because there are these too extremes to using this idea, only some people can use it wisely enough and not have the film involve too much time travel. Director Peter Hyams displays that he's one of those people who can handle this kind of situation. From start to finish, I was thoroughly sure I knew where and what was going on. I wasn't confused once. This shows Hyams had control of how much time travel was used in one instance.

Mia Sara & Jean-Claude Van Damme make a cute couple no?
Timecop is actually a generalization for the people who do the job, but focuses on the story of Max Walker (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a man who belongs to an institution of individuals who police time, based on a popular Dark Horse comic. As stated, time travel was discovered in 1994 and now there are people needed to prevent the past from being altered. One thing I didn't understand was that throughout the entire film, I only saw about two or three timecops. Where's everyone else? However, I only noticed this after the film had ended. I was too busy focusing on what was currently happening on screen.

Going back to Van Damme, I was somewhat skeptical about his performance, but in the end, I had much appreciation for it. However, my only complaint is that he reminds me of other actors. His voice sounds a little like Antonio Banderas, his fighting techniques and flexibility, which are impressive, look too much like Jackie Chan's style, and lastly he sports this Peter Weller hair-do as if he were playing Alex Murphy from RoboCop (1987) and not a timecop. I'm not saying this is bad but I was hoping Van Damme would come out as his own actor and not like someone else. Like I said though, Van Damme is cool when he's fighting and he also has some comical moments too. I liked the character of Max Walker, I just thought he'd be somewhat more original and not a knock-off of some other character.

Ron Silver as the power hungry Aaron McComb
Playing the villain, Aaron McComb, is Ron Silver, a corrupt politician who will do anything to make sure he's sitting in the president's chair by the end of the election. Even Silver has some unique moments where he lashes out at characters and then abruptly simmers down. This shows good characterization because it reveals what a loose cannon McComb is and why he’s not fit for a president. Mia Sara portrays Max Walker’s wife, Melissa Walker. I also think that the two actors made a good couple; too bad it wasn't real. Melissa definitely may not be a physically strong character, but she has a hardy spirit. As the film came to its finale, I had a fondness for her bravery.

The special effects are also fair game. There wasn't anything that seemed to be overloaded with CGI and the idea of "matter occupying two spaces at one time" is also another visual treat to see. The part where the film shows how the police go back in time was intriguing as well. It recalled what it was like to first watch Back to the Future (1985), with a speeding vehicle hurtling towards some wall and then suddenly disappearing with track marks ablaze. Mark Isham composed the score to this film. Sadly, I did not feel a whole lot from it but and maybe that's because there was no theme song to it. But it definitely was a soundtrack, because it wasn't noise like Keith Emerson’s score from Nighthawks (1981). What a mess that was!

Peter Hyams' direction on the Dark Horse comic of a time traveling police officer not only boasts visuals, but also has a great story line. The characters are nicely acted and the action scenes are well played.

Points Earned --> 9:10

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Terminator (1984) Review:

Who can turn down a James Cameron film like this? The Terminator (1984) is a classic on every level. The story was brilliantly written. The cast that was chosen for each role was done perfectly. The special effects, although very outdated by today's standards, still entertains and inspires the next generation of sci-fi filmmakers. And the music was an extreme role player throughout.

The whole story itself is an enormous step in a new direction. At the time, no one was truly thinking about the possible downside to artificial intelligence. But who could have thought that machines could become smarter than humans and decide to take over? Well James Cameron did. The plot is so in depth with detail that it's hard not to become involved in the plot as well.

Schwarzenegger as the ultimate killing machine
Arnold Schwarzenegger being the choice of the Terminator was the best choice the casting department could have ever done. Not only is he good but he can be quite terrifying too. Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor was accurate because although she's scared quite often throughout the running time, she later becomes a much stronger individual. And Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese was a good choice too because he definitely acts and looks like a run down soldier looking to find a way to change the future that he came from.

Sarah Connor's (Hamilton) rescuer, Kyle Reese (Biehn)
Stan Winston and his team of specialists provide the special effects and boy do they look great. With a mix of using puppetry and stop-motion animation, the entire look of the terminator is very interesting to watch. Not to mention that this thing can take a beating, either by its enemies or by itself! And the music by Brad Fiedel adds the final touch to the film. Fiedel makes the music have a sci-fi tone and whenever the terminator is on screen, there's a certain theme to it that gives it a very ominous feel. It's very creepy, but effective! It's surprising that director Cameron came to such glory from this movie after he directed such a sub-par film known as Piranha Part II: The Spawning (1981)!

This is the film that launched director James Cameron into show biz. With all the elements picked out perfectly, The Terminator is bound to strike the right chord.

Points Earned --> 10:10

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Shadow (1994) Review:

During the decade of the 1990s, there were a series of early 20th century heroes put onto the big screen. Few were commercially successful as were they financially. The Shadow is apart of this group. Everything about The Shadow is as nostalgic as were The Phantom (1996), and The Rocketeer (1991). However, there were a few things that stood out to me that didn't match with the rest of this film.

The Shadow was once a pulp character that was only heard on the radio. But with all the new technology that came out during the time, Hollywood felt that it was time to make the transition from radio to big screen. The only problem with that are, the only people who would really know who The Shadow was, were the people who listened to him on the radio station. Anyone younger than sixty is going to have a hard time connecting with the character even if the main lead was Alec Baldwin.

The story opens up with Baldwin being the nefarious ruler in far-east Asia. It is not until he is captured and is persuaded and taught by the Tulku to wield his evil powers for the good of man. This is how he becomes The Shadow. Yet it never was explained to why he even became a powerful ruler in Asia. It was explained how, but never why. Did he like the women better then in America? Anyway, the perspective that The Shadow is shown during this film is pretty cool. A red bandana covering his face, a wide brimmed hat, and a cape that flows so fluently makes him look like a very serious character. His ability to "cloud men's minds" is cool too but it reminisces back to Jedi and using the force on people with weak minds. It's basically the same thing and it’s unoriginal.

Looks good on screen,...doesn't always work when acted
Playing Lamont Cranston's (Baldwin's character) love interest is Penelope Ann Miller as Margo Lane. For some reason though, I did not feel a true connection between these two actors. Nothing seemed romantic about their relationship at all. Did David Koepp, the writer of Jurassic Park (1993) and Spider-man (2002), really have these two actors in mind for these roles? Because something seems off with both of them. It's not like they don't show that they love each other, but it looks like they're flirting more than actually showing their love.

Why would an evil ruler want to wear a tux?
Playing the villain who possesses the same power as Lamont Cranston is John Lone, as Shiwan Khan, the last decent of Genghis Khan (as he clearly states several times). Also Lone never seems to take his character as seriously as he should be. At times he questions Cranston on how he dresses. Why should that matter? As Cranston accurately replies:

"You,...are a barbarian".

Along side Lone is Tim Curry. Curry plays a conniving weasel that wants nothing more but to have world domination just as much as Khan but doesn't have much of a backbone to show. The visual effects are neat too. The Shadow acts like a ghost. He has the ability to disappear as well as clouding men's minds. Another cool aspect about The Shadow is how he is able to establish communications. Once he saves an individual’s life, they then become apart of The Shadow's secret society, but not directly in it. The score was provided by Jerry Goldsmith and once again out does himself by creating a dark feel for a troubled hero.

The film version of the early 20th century radio pulp hero is well done even if it has a lack of chemistry between Baldwin and Miller. The action is fun and so is the mystifying score by Goldmsith.

Points Earned --> 8:10

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Rocketeer (1991) Review:

There are lots of early 20th century pulp heroes that have been adapted to the big screen. But few have scored high with audiences. And then there are the ones that gather a cult following for being so unappreciated at the theaters when they were originally released. This movie is one of them. There are multiple reasons to why this movie should have been a success and yet audiences never realized the material within. It may not be Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) or Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) but the adventure is just as filling.

The Rocketeer recollects the time when everything entailed G-men in pressed suits, kingpins wearing corsages, sinister masterminds cleverly disguised as other individuals, and damsels' in distress. It is a much-welcomed nostalgic aura because these types of elements aren't always used in the correct manner. But director Joe Johnston, utilizes everything that's given to him and it's done brilliantly. And although it wasn't made the exact way he wanted it to be, Dave Stevens, the creator of The Rocketeer character, which was derived from a popular comic book, was happily satisfied with the majority of the movie.

Peevy (Arkin) & Cliff Secord (Campbell)
In this film, because Disney sponsored it, the story not only will appeal to adults but to teenagers as well. The original comic book was actually more for adults. Bill Campbell as Cliff Secord was an excellent choice, as was Jennifer Connelly as his attractive love interest. And like many other films, Connelly plays her strong-willed female character quite proficiently. Both look stunning together as well kudos to the casting by Nancy Foy. Thankfully, the writers decided to have Secord already have a love interest and not "find" her as the plot continued, like most love stories go. Also the fact that this film doesn't have sappy love. This can drain the energy from the whole plot, making it difficult for the audience.

Neville Sinclair (Dalton) & Eddie Valentine (Sorvino)
As characters go, many scenes were done in pairs. If it's not Secord's technician pal, Peevy (Alan Arkin), making funny lines, it's mobster Eddie Valentine (Paul Sorvino) making threats to his boss, Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton). And if it's not them, the audience will even take pleasure in watching Ed Lauter and James Handy, play two FBI agents, Fitch and Wooly, who seem to always be one step behind everyone else. And who's their boss? Nobody else but Howard Hughes, played by Terry O'Quinn. The screenplay leaves nobody out of the story and that’s good because every character is amiable for their own reasons. Each role was given special care so that no one would be left out off the screen and it shows.

The special effects are reputable here too. Some audiences may find them exhausted due to how special effects are used nowadays but all the same, for 1991, that's exceptionally impressive. Not to mention that 1991 was the beginning of when CGI was first introduced from Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991). But when Secord is up in air and soaring like a fighter jet, it's still an eye-catcher today. Some may even call Secord as the Ironman (2008) of his time and in a way, they’re right!  And although The Rocketeer wasn't a machine, he was the first human flying machine. It's a lot of fun to watch.

There is no question about action in this adventure tale either. All of it is appropriate for its audience especially for what Johnston was given to work with story wise. I will admit that there wasn't as much as I had expected there to be but I still loved the movie at the end. The music is great too. The man who created a stirring soundtrack to the movie Glory (1989), is back again; James Horner. Horner may not have made this particular soundtrack to be emotionally moving, but it is profusely joyful and innocent, making it just as delightful. And just like Glory's tune, The Rocketeer has its own theme that's also of one to remember.

The conversion of Dave Stevens' comic book hero has a great cast, a pleasant screenplay, and a sensational soundtrack. It's shocking that a film done this well, did not make it big in the movie business.

Points Earned --> 10:10

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Punisher: Dirty Laundry [Short] (2012) Review:

Watching The Punisher (2004) starring Thomas Jane was a fun ride. I thought a lot of the action sequences were well staged as were the acting and the music well written. My only quarrel with the film was that plot dragged slightly and how the moments of sadness in the weirdest places. Most of them dealt with Travolta's character. For example, when Howard Saint (Travolta) confronts a longtime friend about betraying him, as a villain, he should be livid, not emotionally distraught. The sadness that Jane displays is frequent too but it’s forgivable since the reboot had to establish the fact that his family was gone.

Even after 8 years he still looks good.
Not much aging here.
Thankfully, there's nothing like that in this ten-minute film. Eight years later, we find Thomas Jane back as Frank Castle just trying to do some laundry when he stumbles onto innocent blood being spilt. Need I say more? We all know what happens next; pure punishment. The difference between this film and the feature length remake that Jane starred in 2004 was the tone of the movie. The first dealt more with Castle's grief about the death of his family (which is understandable to a point). Here, Castle has accepted the fact that his family is gone and now could care less who he's hurting. And that’s also the attitude of Ron Perlman’s character whose just a store clerk. For the few lines he gave, it was something you wouldn’t normally hear from a store clerk. All good acting though.

Ron Perlman as the clerk
I’m still not giving this short film a full ten stars because this wasn’t a full feature length movie. There’s obviously not enough to explore in ten minutes. Plus the fact that the blood was fake as well but what do you expect for a ten-minute film. The hand-to-hand combat is great to watch as is the improvised weapon Jane uses to break up a gang. The music, although I have no idea who scored it, sounded good and the ending was quite satisfying. Will this bring Jane back as Frank Castle? Right now, that's in the air but if it does end up coming to fruition, having it done this way would be a much better way to go.

Points Earned --> 8:10

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Punisher (2004) Review:

Besides Ghost Rider, The Punisher is another one of my favorite Marvel characters in particular. I liked almost everything about it except for some minor areas. Like most superhero or anti-hero characters, the
background of The Punisher is a tragic story. It is the piece of the title role's life that is taken away from them that makes them who we know them as now. Peter Parker loses his uncle (Spiderman), Johnny
Blaze loses his father (Ghost Rider), and for Frank Castle's case; his entire family (The Punisher).

Thomas Jane as Frank Castle (The Punisher)
Frank Castle (Thomas Jane), is a well renowned FBI agent. Unfortunately, things go awry when his family gets caught in the cross-hairs of his job and are slain right before his eyes. It is from there that Frank Castle becomes The Punisher. However, I would like to know how a group of gunmen find the EXACT whereabouts of Castle and his family and are able to creep up on them, UNDETECTED, and get away with several murders.

Pam Dixon's choice to cast Jane as Frank Castle was an accurate decision. Dixon, who also was in charge of casting for The Mask of Zorro (1998) and Tremors (1990) seems to really have a knack for picking the right actors for each character role. Jane's grungy voice makes The Punisher sound like he really has no remorse for anyone or anything. Also Jane's ability to make Castle seem like he has an endless amount of firepower is just too good to watch.

Mrs. & Mr. Saint (Laura Harring & John Travolta)
The selfish mobster who has Castle's family killed was by Howard Saint, played by John Travolta. Travolta plays the character of Howard Saint fairly well. However, I think Travolta could've been much more sinister with his character, but he never takes it in that direction. On a side note I like to say that even though I knew that Castle's family was going to do die, I never thought I would feel so much emotion when it occurred. I really felt bad for Jane's character when he was rushing to save his wife and son.

As stated before, The Punisher's arsenal is wicked. Nothing but the best here. This makes the action sequences a lot of fun to watch. I loved how director Jonathan Hensleigh filmed the driving sequences, much of it was almost out of control and I was surprised the actors didn't fall out of the cars! I also loved the noises that were made whenever The Punisher was loading all his weapons; what fun! Yet somehow, at the end of the film I felt like I didn't get my eye-full's worth and that disappointed me.

A few other things I didn't seem to understand was that actors need to be louder when they talk and some of Howard Saint's emotional moments. At first, I didn't understand the random cameo of Mark Collie as Harry Heck. He pops into a diner to sing Castle a song, almost like he pities his pain,...just to show up in the next scene trying to kill him. Um what? What did we accomplish here? Turned out I missed a significant line by one of Saint's henchman saying they hired a man from Memphis to kill Castle because it was mentioned last minute in a specific scene with little to no defined moment.

I also wasn't fond of Castle making this huge plan of getting back at Howard Saint. I liked how he carried out his plan but it dragged. Seriously, for a character with a much darker personality, I was expecting something quite quick and brutal. Instead the audience experiences emotional moments where Saint confronts his issues with tears. The musical score by Carlo Siliotto was good though. The piano in the background really pulls on the heartstrings. Overall, it was decent, it just needed a few things tightened up.

Thomas Jane gives a great performance as Frank Castle but the fact that the plot drags can get a little tedious. Besides this though, the music and action sequences are a guilty pleasure.

Points Earned --> 7:10

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) Review:

The story of Snow White initially introduced by The Brothers Grimm is a classic. And although taking a story and changing some of the key points doesn't always sit well with viewers, but the story of Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) isn't all too bad. Being director Rupert Sanders’ first theatrical film, I'll give him credit for making a fairly strong attempt at re-imagining the story of Snow White.

Snow White and the Huntsman
(Stewart) & (Hemsworth)
There are a lot of great parts to this movie. First of main importance is the acting. From the top to the supporting actors, all have their characters down pat. Chris Hemsworth plays the Huntsman with a rare Scottish accent that is yet to be found in a lot of films. Making him even more enjoyable to listen to is partially due to his deadpan acting, which comes off with sarcastic comments. Kristen Stewart's acting was entertaining as well. Her English accent was performed straightforward with no problems and the look of her on screen is actually quite alluring to say the least. It's also pleasant to see her in a more front-line role where she "mans" up and fights for good.

Theron as the evil power hungry queen
As for the queen's role, Charlize Theron was perfectly cast. From the make-up to the costume design, Theron matches the arrangement of that of the queen from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Not to mention, that she's also quite sinister looking. And last but not least are the Dwarfs, the miners who dig for gold. The best thing about these guys is that they provide the audience with comic relief. Sure they don't look as cute as the Disney version but all the same, they were created to please and they do just that.

Another great part of this film is the screenplay, kudos to Evan Daugherty as the storywriter. Daugherty not only included the "apple eating scene" but also expanded the backgrounds of the huntsman and the queen. This allows the audience to relate more to the characters. Plus, to show how pure Snow White was as a character, they even made her care for the queen. Finally the action and special effects were dazzling. To see an army charge a castle just like in the medieval times was a different way of seeing warfare. How many times does the audience see laser/gun fire or explosions on screen? I'd say more than one would see catapults shooting deathballs of fire and barrages of arrows. It's different and it should be fun to experience every now and then.

Not to mention, there is also swordplay, Chris Hemsworth still flinging weapons thinking he was still the mighty Thor and even the Dwarfs take part in some intense action. Those guys can fight! Some of Theron's transformation scenes are also cool to watch. Seeing her change from human form to a flock of crows has to be done with a way that makes it elegant even though she's evil and it's done rather well. And don't forget the Dark Forest scenes! Instead of just having the trees being creepy it actually acts like a hallucinogenic where it's only imaginary but all the same it can be frightening. For music, James Newton Howard composed the soundtrack and it was bold on notes. It sounded nice but I can't recall a main theme. One would think for a movie to be memorable, he'd make a theme.

Now, onto the problems. The Plot. It dragged. Many know the story of Snow White, so why did it take so long for it to get going? I'm not sure but that's how it went. Then there was inconsistency. The queen’s brother is chasing Snow White and somehow no matter where Snow White seems to go, even after losing him, he finds her within what seems 24 hours! How is this possible? There are no tracking beacons in the time this story takes place! And lastly, is the love interest. It's great to see all these actors in action and playing their parts really well but how did the love interest get left out? Don't we want Snow White to find love? I did and I was hoping one of the characters would've become Snow White's husband but it never occurred. That's frustrating.

Evan Daugherty's pacing is weird but his version of Snow White has the action, actors that portray the roles accurately, unique character development and adventurous music.

Points Earned --> 8:10