A Perspective from Within

I’d thought I’d take the time to not review a movie.

“Why’s that,” you ask? As a critic myself, I love to review movies and tell others what I think of them. But my criticisms come mainly from my experience in the film industry itself, which makes my view different from most other’s even if only slightly. A viewer will watch a movie and think “Oh, this movie was good,” or “I just hated this movie.” I, on the other hand, see every film ever made as a result of a miracle. It staggers the mind how so many people can agree on a project, produce said project, then release that project to a number of people. (It’s even more staggering if it’s a bad movie with a poor premise.)

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Sucker Punch

2011, 110 minutes, Action, U.S.; Directed by Zack Snyder; Produced by Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder; Legendary Pictures, Cruel and Unusual Films; Dist. by Warner Brothers

Usually good and solid films, even ones that are considered “intelligent” or “intellectual” in nature, are presented in the fashion that even someone with the I. Q. level of a third grader can understand what’s going on. I’m not discussing a third grader’s level of experience, as there are a lot of situations presented in some films that a third grader would have never had the opportunity to know about. But a third grader could understand the way it’s being presented.

For example, if a film shows a shot of the outside of a large mansion, then cuts to another shot of a large group of people sitting at a long dinner table, it’s suggested that the large group of people sitting at the table are also inside of the large mansion. This technique has become a common tongue in the language of film is used naturally all of the time in modern filmmaking to present all sorts of situation in a fashion where everyone would be able to understand what’s going on.

For better or for worse, Zack Snyder attempts to push those boundaries of editorial story-telling in his film Sucker Punch, a film about a girl trying to escape from the confines of a mental institute where other perfectly sane girls are commonly given in the care of and lobotomized in order keep them out of the way of those who don’t mean well in society. Read more of this post

Whip It

2009, 111 minutes, Comedy, U.S.; Directed by Drew Barrymore; Produced by Barry Mendel, Drew Barrymore; Fox Searchlight, Mandate Pictures, Vincent Pictures, Flower Films, Rye Road

I’m not sure if this is a weakness I’m finally revealing to everyone who might read my reviews. This might be the one thing I take interest in that would make you roll your eyes and not take any of my opinions seriously. (Like my use of color wheels in that ginormous 2.22 Review & Analysis wouldn’t have done that to a few of you guys already.) Though seriously, this might prove to be a weakness in any film in which this element is used. And that element is, of course, the use of Ellen Page.

Her “normal” and even “alternative” look appears to be a very natural beauty, something that I miss in light of the slew of Victoria’s Secret lingerie models that have begun to plague our screens.  (Even though we all know that Ellen Page is like every other performer in that she requires the customary touch-up for the camera, and is starting to be selected by studios to attract the “alternative” crowd half of the time anyway.) And her performances aren’t bad, either. In much of what I’ve seen her in, she has the same basic approach to her work. She usually plays whatever character in a somewhat timid fashion, which kinda figures since most of the cast in whatever movie she’s in towers over her.  It would be nice to see her break out into something more tough and rebellious, but she doesn’t appear fake or shallow in her roles as timid people either. So I can’t complain. I’m not saying she’s the Actress Goddess Extraordinaire, but she can hold her own in a film and even add to it quite often.

In Whip It, the low-budget Fox Searchlight “indy” film directed by first-time director Drew Barrymore, this talent seems rather typecasted into a role that the viewer is assumed to simply fall for anyway. And let’s face it, it’s hard not to fall for a lead when she looks like a wet puppy who wants to come in from the rain. But aside from the “puppy eyes”, this film only has some minor quirky charms to offer. Read more of this post

Stefan’s R&A: Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance

Also known as "Evangelion, New Theatrical Edition: Break"

[Due to the pre-existing nature of the film’s source material, this article has been split into two separate groups. The first half of the article is a traditionally written movie review for Evangelion 2.22 free of important spoilers that might ruin the experience for first-time viewers. The second half of the article is a in-depth comparative analysis between Evangelion 2.22 and the television show it was based upon: Neon Genesis Evangelion, and even a look as to how art can sometimes imitate life, and is targeted for those who have watched both the film and the original television show.] Read more of this post

(Not) A Guilty Pleasure: Raptor

You don't really care who made this, and to be honest, neither do I. So instead here's a snarky rebuttal to the above poster about stock footage never being extinct either.

No "Guilty Pleasure Quality" this time. I really hate this movie. Only in the category for consistency's sake.

I’m really not sure how to introduce Raptors, the 2001 spin-off film following the Carnosaur Trilogy. Other than that it’s low production values and mindless casting were even too much for me, as I’m knocking this film out of The Guilty Pleasures. That’s right. It was so bad I couldn’t even enjoy it as cheap and silly entertainment. The way it was shot, the way the actors walked, and the clues to major cop-outs later on down the film just turned me off from the very beginning. I would say that Roger Corman should have stay Executive Producer rather than moving to Producer for the film, but that would suggest the other Carnosaur films were any good. Raptors was just as bad but simply far less enjoyable.

I shouldn’t be criticized for not knowing how to introduce such a film, as even the filmmakers didn’t even seem to know how to introduce the movie. So rather than trying, they simply re-used footage from the first Carnosaur film to show a bunch of teens in a Jeep getting slaughtered by the dinosaur. In fact, much of the story is recycling a lot of elements from the first film simply so the filmmakers could reuse old footage when needed to cut down on production costs. The plot revolves around a mad scientist trying to clone dinosaurs back to life. Sound familiar? (I’m not even referring to Jurassic Park.) Read more of this post

The Guilty Pleasures Pile: Carnosaur 3

Science-Fiction/Action; 85 minutes; U.S.; Directed by: Jonathan Winfrey; Produced by: Roger Corman; New Horizon Home Entertainment

Actual Quality

Guilty Pleasure Quality

After the delightful abominations that were Carnosaur 1 & 2, Rodger Corman rolls out yet another dinosaur flick within the same year of the 1994 sequel, entitled Carnosaur 3. And yes, it even follows the same group of dinosaurs that were human-bred into the world in the first movie. I’m not sure how these dinosaurs kept surviving. I mean, after the nuclear blast that capped off movie #2 these dinosaurs seem to be more radiation-blast proof than Indiana Jones in that 2009 movie. And yet they’re still prone to die when hit by things like bullets and smaller explosives, again like Indiana Jones in that 2009 movie.

Oh well…

A small group of Caucasian terrorists (I have to make a distinction in light of the Taliban, who don’t make an appearance in this movie) steal some sorely guarded trucks of Uranium protected via the U.S. Military. (Nice job, Military.) The Uranium was en route to somewhere else, (does it really matter where at this point?*) which made it an easy target for terrorists dressed in black ninja suits in broad daylight. I guess the terrorists were so good that they don’t need the cover of night to camoflauge in their black suits. I mean, if they can take on the U.S. Military and win then they MUST be good.

(*Sorry for all of the intrusive parentheticals. They will appear only as often as needed in this review. Play a game and count how many times they appear in this review if it helps.) Read more of this post

The Guilty Pleasure Pile: Carnosaur 2

Science Fiction, Action; 1994; 83 minutes; U.S.; Directed by: Louis Monaeu; Produced by: Mike Elliot; Executive Produced by: Roger Corman; The Pacific Trust; New Horizons Home Video

Actual Quality

Guilty Pleasure Quality

In 1993, Roger Corman’s Carnosaur compared itself greatly to Jurassic Park, which in turned showed signs that Spielberg was more directly inspired by Comran to come into the world of executive producer and increasing his quantity of film in his filmography. It was a rather unlikely turn of events, but it happened. Elements from Carnosaur were even taken and placed in a mock script for Jurassic Park IV, which greatly infuriated fans in 2003 when they thought that it was the actual production script for the film; a film which never came came to realization in any form of production as of yet.

Corman quickly went into production with the sequel simply titled Carnosaur 2 much faster than Spielberg came to production with his sequel film The Lost World: Jurassic Park. In fact, the film was released in 1994, only roughly one year after the release of the both the first Carnosaur and Jurassic Park films and 3 years before Spielberg would release his Jurassic Park sequel in 1997. Despite Corman’s film again starring dinosaurs, the film’s creative team decided to take a different approach to their sequel film by “paying homage” to the techniques and films of director of James Cameron, specifically his 1986 film Aliens and 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Carnosaur is a sequel ripping off both an Alien sequel and a Terminator sequel, and was released during the announcement of a Jurassic Park sequel. Considering the first installments to all of these three franchises, that’s a scope of at least 8 movies. And that’s not considering the other sequels that all four of these franchises later put into production. Could this review get anymore crowded? Read more of this post