Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: This Means War [2012]

Release Date: 17 February 2012 (USA), 23 February 2012 (Malaysia)
Directed By: McG
Written By: Timothy Dowling, Simon Kinberg, Marcus Gautesen
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Chelsea Handler
Duration: 97 minutes
In A Nutshell:
FDR (played by Chris Pine) and Tuck (played by Tom Hardy) are best friends and also two of the world's best CIA operatives. They both fall for the same girl, Lauren (played by Reese Witherspoon) and end-up competing with one another for her affections. Both men uses every CIA resources available to them from espionage intelligence to hi-tech gadgetry to win her heart over and also to screw the other guy's plans.
Thumbs Up:
+ Surprisingly more laughs and fun than originally expected
+ Energetic performances from the main trio
+ At 97 minutes long, doesn't drag-on longer than it should
Thumbs Down:
- Predictable and clichéd storyline that is void of any substance
- An abundance of illogical aspects at every corner

The Verdict Is In:
The first quarter of a year is never a good period for viewing newly released movies. Everyone is still busy looking back at the previous year and also focusing on the current awards season. Therefore studios rarely release any memorable films during this interval. With this in mind, I had fairly low expectations going into this flick but can safely say came out of the theatre pleasantly entertained.

First of all, if we're going to find faults with this film, then we are going to get truckloads of them. In fact, we won't hear the end of it, as there's probably something silly or cliché every five minutes or so. But despite all that, when judged for the final product, I enjoyed the movie. I found most of the jokes funny while the actions sequences provided me with enough stimulation to keep me entertained. Some might say the background crime story here was underdeveloped, but I say why bother focusing on something we don't really care about. The real enjoyment in this film was watching the competition between FDR and Tuck.

We as the audience seek fun and escapism while viewing these "popcorn flicks", and that is exactly what the filmed provided me with. At the end of the day that's what really matters. You're willing to forgive the movie's plenty flaws if you had a fun and enjoyable time watching it, won't you?
6 out of 10

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Troll Quotes: Misquoting And Misidentifying On Purpose

I know its kinda geeky, but I love quoting lines from movies in my daily life. Well I guess when you watch movies a considerable lot more than the average person, films do tend to constantly populate your mind. Speaking of quotes, some are so famous that the moment you hear them you can instantly conjure up the image of the movie it belongs to.

Which brings me to the subject of Troll Quotes. Basically they are memes that consists of three elements:

1) A photo of a clearly recognisable person or character
2) A clearly recognisable quote or statement
3) A clearly recognisable name that the quote is attributed for

But what makes it interesting is that none the three elements are directly connected with each other but are close enough in style or genre as to misdirect the viewer that the entire image is correct. At first I intended to create my own Troll Quote images for this post but was too busy (read: lazy) to do so. In the end, I decided to feature photos that I gathered from the internet, mostly from the website aptly named Here they are:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Creating The Flying House From "Up" In Real Life

Okay, this apparently has been out for quite a while already, but somehow I was only made aware of its existence yesterday after seeing it in a TV commercial. That glorious scene where a house had been made to fly by using balloons as seen in the majestic Pixar film, Up [2009], has already been turned into reality. This project was brought to life by National Geographic for its TV show How Hard Can It Be? [2011]. I've never seen the series but I reckon its quite similar to Mythbusters [2003 - ].

One particular comment on the clip's Youtube page caught my attention. Someone had made this particular remark: "The title of this video should be: Adults wanting to be children again...". Another user thankfully retorted with: "The creative adult is the child who survived". I simply loved that riposte!! I believe that quote was originally from the mind of author Ursula K. Le Guin, where the full version goes:

"The creative adult is the child who survived after the world tried killing them, making them 'grown up'. The creative adult is the child who survived the blandness of schooling, the unhelpful words of bad teachers, and the nay-saying words of the world. The creative adult is in essence simply that, a child".

I wholeheartedly believe that embracing your inner-child is hugely UNDER-rated. And that's where the magic of Pixar comes to play. They often time and again unleash that inner-child trapped within you. Darn, makes me even more looking forward towards the release of Pixar's Brave [2012] later this year. But for now, here's the clip I promised:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Animated Quiz: The Alphabet In Film

Now here's something fun too do. This very cool quiz-video is created by Evan Seitz and it features animation as well as audio samples from 26 different movies, each one of them representing a letter from the alphabet. It runs at 58 seconds and you can check it out below. See how many of the movies you can guess. Remember they appear according to the alphabet. Honestly, I failed to guess quite a few.

The answers are after the break. I found this video from Rope Of Silicon, and I got the answers from there too.

*Click On The Break For Answers*

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

List: 25 Favourite Romantic Movies

So, today is Valentine's Day and as promised, to keep up with the theme, here are my 25 Favourite Romantic Movies. My largest number of movies in one post so far. I had a lot of trouble to determine what movies can be categorised as "romance" seeing that almost every movie, including action and horror, has at least some element of love in it. I guess the romance bit has to be huge part of the film's fabric even if it isn't the main theme. Amongst the movies I had to dismiss from the romance category was one of my all-time favourite films, Pixar's Up [2009] and my Favourtite Movie Of 2011, the quirky coming-of-age feature, Submarine [2011]. I've also decided to keep the love stories strictly among humans (an excuse to cram in more films on the list), so with that, my Favourite Pixar Movie so far, WALL- E [2008] also isn't listed (but I've put it on a "Special Jury Award" at the end of the post). Making this list and seeing so many movie choices has made me realise how much in denial I have been all this time because apparently I do love this genre very much! So on we go now...

# Honourable Mentions

In no particular order are.... # Ghost [1990] (a bit cheesy.. but still entertaining) # Starman [1984] (apparently not all John Carpenter movies are horror, Jeff Bridges gives an awesome performance) # Wedding Crashers [2005] (hilarious!!) # There's Something About Mary [1998] (that hair gel!) # Shallow Hal [2001] (another movie from the Farrelly Brothers) # Crazy, Stupid Love [2011] (probably not in the line-up because its still new) # You've Got Mail [1998] (gotta love Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan) # Serendipity [2001] (already got two Cusack films in the final 25) # Splash [1984] (childhood memories)

#25 Notting Hill [1999]

The story is rather trite, but the final execution, humour, and Ronan Keating's song makes this a rather enjoyable flick.

Selected Quote: Spike: "There's something wrong with this yogurt" William: "Ah, that's not yogurt, that mayonnaise..."

#24 Love Actually [2003]

The final scene which involves a kid running through the airport to stop a girl just before she goes on her flight might be stretching it too far for my liking. But overall, this ten-stories-combined-into-one provides great escapism.

Selected Quote: "Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!"

#23 Harold And Maude [1971]

If you find the idea of a film where a 79 year woman has a relationship with a young man (how old is Harold? I don't know. 20? teenager?) creepy, consider this following fact. There must be something special about a movie when a woman that old is considered a "manic pixie dream girl".

Selected Quote: "I haven't lived. I've died a few times"

#22 Flipped [2010]

Ah, the sweetness and charm of childhood romance. Dare I say it, but this might be as good as director Rob Reiner's other kid movie, Stand By Me [1986].

Selected Quote: "The way she ignored me was a constant reminder that I've been a jerk"

#21 Beauty And The Beast [1991]

I hate it whenever I hear people say something like: "Why is that movie being nominated for an Oscar? Its a freaking cartoon!". Get over it guys. Some animated films provides some of the best storytelling and emotional connection you could ever find.

Selected Quote: "We don't like what we don't understand. In fact it scares us. And this monster is mysterious at least..."

#20 Edward Scissorhands [1990]

Ah, the film that started my love for Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and Winona Ryder. This modern-day fairytale is magically stunning.

Selected Quote: Kim: "Hold me" Edward: "I can't"

#19 Roman Holiday [1953]

Audrey Hepburn's American film debut. And she proves here why she is one of the most stunning and luminous women to have ever lived. I simply adore everything about her.

Selected Quote: "At midnight I'll turn into a pumpkin and drive away in my glass slipper"

#18 Lost In Translation [2003]

I understand why some people regard Sofia Coppola's films as tedious and boring. But Bill Murray's performance in this movie might just add that missing ingredient needed for those with short attention spans.

Selected Quote: "Its Suntory time!"

#17 Annie Hall [1977]

This Woody Allen film probably started a whole lot of trends. The serious and honest interpretation of male-female relationships. The talking to the camera in movies. The Annie Hall fashion style. Diane Keaton is pure delight in this film.

Selected Quote: "La-Di-Dah"

#16 When Harry Met Sally [1989]

Is it really any wonder why Meg Ryan was an "American Sweetheart"?

Selected Quote: "I'll have what she's having"

#15 Easy A [2010]

An absolutely hilarious movie. Oh, and Olive's parents are probably the coolest parents in the entire universe.

Selected Quote: Marianne: "There's a higher power that will judge you for you indecency" Olive: "Tom Cruise?"

#14 Up In The Air [2009]

A smart and engaging story with charismatic performances from its three main characters. Director Jason Reitman is proving to be one to look out for.

Selected Quote: Alex: "He broke up with you over text message?" Ryan: "That's kind of like firing someone over the Internet"

#13 Say Anything [1989]

The quintessential 80s teen movie. The first of both John Cusack and director Cameron Crowe's movies on this list. Read full review here.

Selected Quote: "I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen"

#12 Groundhog Day [1993]

We've all dreamed of living a particular day of our lives over and over again. Bill Muray here gets to actually do that. Its just not the day that he wanted.

Selected Quote: "Well what if there was no tomorrow? There wasn't one today"

#11 Tangled [2010]

I know the story is rather simple and predictable (it is based on classic fairy tale after all), but everything just works together to create a massively enchanting feature. Even Quentin Tarantino listed it 5th on his favourite movies of 2010. Also the scene in the photo above when viewed in 3D is simply breathtaking.

Selected Quote: "I have a dream"

#10 Garden State [2004]

Its a mystery why Zach Braff isn't directing or writing more movies. I'm not buying into the one-hit-wonder theory. Just not yet. This is one of the best feel-good films of all time. The soundtrack is legendary too.

Selected Quote: "Sidecars are for bitches"

#9 High Fidelity [2000]

Love stories and music often come hand-in-hand don't they. John Cusack once again charms while Jack Black also puts up a delightful performance.

Selected Quote: "I knew there was a reason I wore a skirt today"

#8 Jerry Maguire [1996]

Director Cameron Crowe's best effort. Also, Tom Cruise proves no matter how wacky he is in his personal life, on-screen he is as charismatic as ever.

Selected Quote: "You had me at hello..."

#7 Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind [2004]

If it wasn't weird enough watching Jim Carrey in a non-comedic role, the story is the strangest take on love I have ever seen. This will probably be a timeless classic.

Selected Quote: "Random thoughts for Valentine's Day, 2004. Today is a holiday created by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap"

#6 The Graduate [1967]

The movie that apparently inspired the character in the movie (500) Days Of Summer [2009]. Full of humour, drama, and great music

Selected Quote: "Mrs. Robinson, if you don't mind me saying so, this conversation is getting a little strange"

#5 Before Sunset [2004]

Obviously this movie is not for everybody because the entire film is just two people talking. But what makes this such a great romance film is probably the same for the movie at #4 below...

Selected Quote: Celine: "Do I look any different? [long pause] I do?" Jesse: "I'd have to see you naked"

#4 Before Sunrise [1995]

Just like its sequel in #5, this movie is a whole lot of talking between two characters. But that is the magic and joy of love: CHEMISTRY. When, you have that chemistry, talking together and being together is all you want.

Selected Quote: "Isn't everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?"

#3 Amelie (Le Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain) [2001]

My favourite ever non-English film. Quirky, charming, funny, and feel-good all in one movie.

Selected Quote (translated): "At least you'll never be a vegetable... even artichokes have hearts"

#2 Once [2007]

I actually think that the extremely low budget the film had actually worked in its favour. Just like the acoustic music featured, the movie has a strip-down feel to it. Simple acoustic music is often performed in a small area compared to big-budgeted concerts. And these performances bring an authentic and intimate feel to the audience, just like what this film achieves. We don't even learn the names of the characters, but we don't even care.

Selected Quote: Boy: "What's the Czech for 'do you love him?' " Girl: "Milujes ho" Boy: "So... milujes ho?" Girl: "Miluju tebe" Boy: "????"

#1 (500) Days Of Summer [2009]

The realistic love story. The movie teaches us that when we are in a relationship we only see the good things, if we look back, we might see plenty of bad things too.

Selected Quote: "I love us"


# Special Jury Award

As mentioned in the intro, I've decided to keep this list to romance between humans, but WALL-E [2008] is very much a love story, and an utterly great one too.

Also deserving a special award is this scene in another Pixar film, Up [2009]. A fellow blogger wrote that this scene was one of The Best Moments In Film History. I couldn't agree more. I can never grow tired of this scene below:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Short Film: The Death And Return Of Superman [2011]

Year Of Release: 2011
Directed By: Max Landis
Written By: Max Landis
Starring: Elden Henson, Elijah Wood, Mandy Moore, Morgan Krantz
Running Time: 17 minutes
In A Nutshell:
A somewhat-mostly-accurate educational parody film narrated (more likely to be a rant) by Max Landis about the real life events of when DC Comics in 1992 decided to kill  off the Superman character only to bring him back to life again shortly after.
Quick Comments:
I do remember the massive press back in 1992 about "Superman's Death". Vividly too. A few newspapers over here where I live even put a photo on THE FRONT PAGE. Believe me, for a Malaysian newspaper to print something even remotely associated with a comic book is one inter-galactically huge achievement. But yes, that entire "death" story line was a huge fiasco and I'm sorry DC fans, but that is why DC will always be some distance behind Marvel. Max Landis of course is the writer of the recently released and rather impressive movie Chronicle [2012] (there's even a quick and subtle plug for that movie in the short). This just has to seen by all comic-book/superhero geeks out there. It will only take SEVENTEEN MINUTES OF YOUR LIFE! Now you can definitely afford that.
View The Film:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Bourne Legacy [2012] Trailer

I know this is the 3rd trailer I posted this week, but I couldn't help it, Jason Bourne was the pinnacle of my 7 Favourite Movie Secret Agents List. However in this movie, despite having Bourne in the title, there is actually no Jason Bourne in it. Matt Damon has said he will only return to the franchise if the director of the previous two movies, Paul Greengrass is directing it. Greengrass in turn has said the possibility of him returning is zero.

So in this edition we have a different super-spy from the same Treadstone project in action played by Jeremy Renner. You could hear in the trailer "There was never just one" and "Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg". I believe bringing Renner on board to play the lead role will be a good choice as he often brings a lot of intensity to the characters he plays. Tony Gilroy who wrote the screenplay for the previous movies will be directing. Joan Allen, Albert Finney, and David Strathairn will all return to reprise their roles from the original trilogy. New additions include the equally intense Edward Norton and also Rachel Weisz. The Bourne Legacy opens in the USA on August 3rd.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man NEW Trailer

Following-up from last Monday's post of The Avengers [2012] Superbowl Trailer, I've decided to complete my trio of anticipated summer superheroes list with the new official trailer of The Amazing Spider-Man [2012]. 

Compared to the other two movies from the previously mentioned summer trio (I've already posted the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises [2012] ), this movie kinda loses out in terms of buzz being generated. Even myself am not usually a fan of reboots especially when the original movie is still relatively new. But there are still plenty of reasons for me to get excited about this movie, such as:

(1) I think its pretty well established throughout this blog that I love Superheroes, and Spider-Man is one of the more popular ones
(2) The director is Marc Webb, whose debut feature (and so far only movie) is (500) Days Of Summer [2009], one of my all-time favourite films (check out where I place that movie in my Favourite Romantic Movies List next week)
(3) Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are good actors and being in a big summer movie like this could help push their careers on even more
(4) A different villain compared to the previous movies (The Lizard)

This week marks exactly 6 months since I've started this blog. And seeing that in my very first post I featured the teaser trailer for this movie, it is only fitting that today I feature the full length one. So, time to feast your eyes on the clip then:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

List: 10 Favourite Star Wars Characters

This weekend will see one of the highest earning movies of all-time, Star Wars Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace [1999], being re-released in cinemas, this time in 3D. Yet, another shameless attempt from Mr. Lucas to milk the cash-cow. Just like shown in the documentary The People Vs George Lucas [2011], this is one of the reasons why the fanboys despise him. I've probably watched each of the movies in the original trilogy around, I don't know, 50~100 times. The films from the prequel? Twice for each movie, except Phantom Menace, three times. I might be watching them again in the future on DVD or TV but for sure am not going to these 3D editions at the cinema. But my affection towards the entire Star Wars universe remains intact, and here are my favourite characters:

# Honourable Mentions

In no particular order are.... # Qui Gon Jin (midichlorions, guy who discovered Anakin) # Jabba The Hut (thank you for putting Leia in that costume, Jedi mind tricks don't work on him) # Admiral Ackbar (Its's a trap!!!) # Jango Fett (Better than his son) # Count Dooku (Christopher Lee lends plenty of charisma to the role) # C-3PO (The second best side-kick... see #9 for the first)

#10 Wedge Antilles

Yeah, I know, I know. He only plays a minor role in the entire franchise. But this guy also known as "Red Two" survives both attacks on the Death Star and even saves Luke Skywalker during the first. We all know this leads to Luke (with the guidance of Obi Wan's spirit: "Luke, use the force!") destroying that small moon. An unsung hero for sure.

Selected Quote: "Look at the size of that thing!!"

#9 Chewbacca

Sorry C-3PO, but Chewie earns the title of "The Best Sidekick", both on merits of him being a bad ass Wookie and also because of the person he is being a sidekick to.

Selected Quote: Hans Solo: "Let him have it. Its not wise to upset a Wookiee" C-3PO: "But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid" Hans Solo: "That's because droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that" Chewbacca: "Grrf" C-3PO: "I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, R2. Let the Wookiee win"

#8 Obi Wan Kenobi

Autographed photo from CJ's World - The Autographs

Like the majority of things between the original trilogy and the prequels, Alec Guinness played the role better than Ewan McGreggor. This wise mentor for both Skywalker Senior and Junior even manages to scare some Sand-People by using deception. Plus, he defeated Darth Maul.

Selected Quote: "These aren't the droids you're looking for"

#7 Princess Leia Organa

Leia was a great leader, strong woman, and a role model for females. For the male fans? She was the sexual goddess of their fantasies. That slave costume she wore in Return Of The Jedi [1983]  (see photo above) is probably the most popular female costume at comic-cons alongside Wonder Woman's outfit. 

Selected Quote: "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?"

#6 R2-D2

I wrote above that Wedge Antilles (see #10) was an unsung hero. Well R2-D2 is the ultimate unsung hero / team player. He is smart, efficient, multi-skilled (fixes hyperdrive, hacks Imperial computer systems, etc), keeps a low profile, and most importantly LOYAL. In fact if he was a human on earth, he would be the type that undisputedly won every "Employee Of The Month" award. And everyone would still love him. Well, except maybe C-3PO.

Selected Quote: C-3PO (to R2-D2): "This all your fault!"

#5 Luke Skywalker

Yeah, Luke is kind of a boy scout, kissed his sister (creepy), and too short to be a storm trooper. But it is his discovery of the ways of the force, especially in The Empire Strikes Back [1980] that makes the entire franchise compelling.

Selected Quote: Luke Skywalker: "I won't fail you. I'm not afraid" Yoda: "You will be. You... will... be..."

#4 Master Yoda

Photo taken from martialartsplanet

This little fella is so old he needs a cane to walk. But when his life depends on it, like when he faced Count Dooku in Attack Of The Clones [2002], well let's jut say... "put on a great show, he will".

Selected Quote: "No! Try not! Do... or do not. There is no try"

#3 Darth Maul

Illustration taken from Dad's Big Plan

One of the few bright lights from the prequels. He carries a bad-ass lightsaber and has a truly epic battle in The Phantom Menace [1999].

Selected Quote: "At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge"

#2 Hans Solo

Everyone knew Luke Skywalker was the protagonist of the films, but every boy wanted to be Hans Solo. He was the epitome of coolness. And that's saying a lot seeing that he didn't have a lightsaber and couldn't use the force (he doesn't even believe in it). But he makes up for that in plenty of ways. The anti-hero attitude. The Millenium Falcon. The Wookiee. The vest. Getting the girl. The great lines. Hans would make a excellent number one on this list, but loses that spot to someone even greater.....

Selected Quote: Princess Leia: "I Love You" Hans Solo: "I know"

#1 Jar Jar Binks


Alright then, time to reveal....


#1 Darth Vader

It would take someone with massive presence to deny Hans Solo from the summit of all Star Wars characters. It could only be one person. No, I'm not talking about that whiny Anakin in the prequels (Hayden Christensen or Jake Lyold, it doesn't matter... I hate both) here, but the Lord Darth Vader that is easily one of the greatest villains in cinematic history. Just hearing his signature breathing and voice (add his entrance music for maximum effect) sends chills down my spine.

Selected Quote: "No, I... AM YOUR FATHER!!!"
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