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Author Topic: Outrageous Prices For Food and Entertainment! (The Movie Reviews Thread)  (Read 22932 times)
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M0le

Space Pope
****
« Reply #520 on: 01-20-2013 10:39 »

The Hbbit
 
Did your frog just hiccough?

I was going to do a review of the Les Miserables, but I'm too tired, so I'll do it tomorrow.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #521 on: 01-21-2013 11:01 »

Cyber, your arguments are on pacing. The pacing in the movie is spot on with the book. Don't blame a movie for what is the source materials fault. It's very true to the novel (Minus adding in the White Orc, because he was dead in the novel
My arguments are about far more than pacing and the pacing isn't "spot on" with the book. A 500 book doesn't translate into 9 hours of cinema.
And I wouldn't care if it was exactly as it goes down in the book. It's a film adaptation. Films can't just copy the book word for word; they have to adapt the story to work as a film and that includes things like pacing - some things work better in print than on screen and vice versa.

Quote
Also I agree, HFR sucked monkey salmon.
That's not what I said at all.


Shit, they made a movie about that? I need to check that out. smile
It's enjoyable for what it is, so if you're interested in it, it can't hurt to check it out. It's not exactly an in-depth examination of what "happened", though - it's more of a fairly light-hearted time-travel film.
~FazeShift~

Moderator
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« Reply #522 on: 01-25-2013 16:47 »
« Last Edit on: 01-25-2013 20:30 »

Gangster Squad
If you liked the Untouchables or LA Confidential then this is pretty much the same thing except with stony faced Josh Brolin, smug n' handsome Ryan Gosling, and Sean Penn chewing up the scenery.

It has all the usual beats of a special un-bribable police squad setup to take out the mob boss movie:
- recruiting each new members like the A-Team except with fedoras
- a montage of them raiding places and burning money
- the mob boss getting angry and whacking his minions
- tommy gun shootouts

But it's a bit flat and there's not much chemistry between, well anyone.
C
winna

Avatar Czar
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« Reply #523 on: 01-25-2013 17:04 »

Something Goslin.
~FazeShift~

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« Reply #524 on: 01-25-2013 20:31 »

Ah yes, that was it, your knowledge of Hollywood hunks comes in handy once again winna!
winna

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« Reply #525 on: 01-25-2013 22:04 »

Drive was a pretty good movie... felt like the 1980s in a strange way.
Googzeez

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #526 on: 01-26-2013 22:39 »

A 500 book doesn't translate into 9 hours of cinema.
And I wouldn't care if it was exactly as it goes down in the book. It's a film adaptation. Films can't just copy the book word for word; they have to adapt the story to work as a film and that includes things like pacing - some things work better in print than on screen and vice versa.

Quote
Also I agree, HFR sucked monkey salmon.
That's not what I said at all.

Sorry but I must admit that I half heatedly read your review because at the time I was tired. But also I made the assumption that you agreed with most of the reviews out there, mainly the one in The New York Post. Now that that's out of the way, I still love the pacing and no, if you're going to do an adaptation, you can do it like Jaws (Not as faithful but amazing) or Gone With the Wind (Just changed some circumstances and character motifs from what I remember when reading the book years ago) or The Hobbit, which just added in stuff for the second movie but did almost everything in the book which leaves for a very faithful adaptation which was kick ass imo.

HFR Sucks regardless.
UnrealLegend

Space Pope
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« Reply #527 on: 01-26-2013 22:56 »

I'm almost tempted to see The Hobbit again in HFR. Despite the mixed reactions I'm really interested in seeing how it looks.

Really, I can't imagine it being that bad. It's just that such a big change would take a while to adjust to, especially since movies have played at 24FPS since... forever.
Googzeez

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #528 on: 01-27-2013 01:36 »

Have you ever watched a soap opera? It looks like a European soap opera. Also because it's much smoother you see many more imperfections which kills the buzz.
Spacedal11

Space Pope
****
« Reply #529 on: 01-27-2013 03:34 »

I agree 100% with Faze about Ganster Squad. Totally flat with not much to chemistry with anyone and they didn't use Emma Stone at all. Plus that last shot reminded me of Gob throwing his dead dove into the ocean which made me start laughing like an idiot during the credits.

But after we got back we watched Equilibrium which was much better and had much better gun fights.
~FazeShift~

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« Reply #530 on: 01-27-2013 22:50 »

"Return from whence you came!"
I watched that yesterday actually, episode 2 is great.

Seven Psychopaths
Sam Rockwell is great in this, plays off Colin Farrell very well.
Some of the other characters are hit and miss, and the resolution was a bit disappointing, but I was entertained enough.
B-
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #531 on: 01-28-2013 11:42 »

A 500 book doesn't translate into 9 hours of cinema.
And I wouldn't care if it was exactly as it goes down in the book. It's a film adaptation. Films can't just copy the book word for word; they have to adapt the story to work as a film and that includes things like pacing - some things work better in print than on screen and vice versa.

Quote
Also I agree, HFR sucked monkey salmon.
That's not what I said at all.

Sorry but I must admit that I half heatedly read your review because at the time I was tired. But also I made the assumption that you agreed with most of the reviews out there, mainly the one in The New York Post. Now that that's out of the way, I still love the pacing and no, if you're going to do an adaptation, you can do it like Jaws (Not as faithful but amazing) or Gone With the Wind (Just changed some circumstances and character motifs from what I remember when reading the book years ago) or The Hobbit, which just added in stuff for the second movie but did almost everything in the book which leaves for a very faithful adaptation which was kick ass imo.

HFR Sucks regardless.

Most of the reviews discussing HFR aren't negative either; it sounds like you skimmed them, too. They're mostly all championing it as the future of cinema, but there are plenty who hate it too, and they're louder because negativity generally is. It's a mixed reaction.

As for the adapting, you basically agreed with me. Your films did what was best for the film, be it sticking to the book or diverting completely. The Hobbit sticks adamantly to the source material on one hand (even where it would be better to deviate slightly) whilst adding in a truck load of bits padded out from appendices and Peter Jackson's fan-fiction.

Have you ever watched a soap opera? It looks like a European soap opera. Also because it's much smoother you see many more imperfections which kills the buzz.
I've heard this comparison a lot, but I don't think that it's very accurate. It looks like when a computer is playing a DVD and the visuals freeze for a split second, but the audio continues playing, and then the computer plays all of the video very quickly to catch back up with the sound.
It feels somewhat like behind the scenes footage because it looks like digital rather than film (which it is, but most digitally-shot films try to hide that they aren't shot on film). This is where the soap-opera comparison seems to be stemming from, but the thing is that soap-operas look cheap. The Hobbit doesn't. At least not when you get used to the look and feel of it. The amounts of detail and clarity in the image make it feel hugely expensive, even if the sets and costumes look less real and more like sets and costumes.
I'm not sold either way on HFR yet, but I think it's far too early to right it off, outright just because you don't like change.
Tachyon

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #532 on: 01-28-2013 22:12 »


Do you think the negative reactions are due because it's so different from film that people have a hard time suspending disbelief?  And if so, is that due to the HFR itself?  The only HFR film I've seen was Skyfall, in IMAX.  The thing that bothered me about Skyfall was the aspect ratio, not the HFR: 4.5:3 or whatever just didn't *look* like a movie to me.  Not at first, anyway.  What aspect ratio is the HFR version of The Hobbit presented in?

Googzeez

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #533 on: 01-29-2013 01:27 »
« Last Edit on: 01-29-2013 02:07 »

Quote
I've heard this comparison a lot, but I don't think that it's very accurate. It looks like when a computer is playing a DVD and the visuals freeze for a split second, but the audio continues playing, and then the computer plays all of the video very quickly to catch back up with the sound.
It feels somewhat like behind the scenes footage because it looks like digital rather than film (which it is, but most digitally-shot films try to hide that they aren't shot on film). This is where the soap-opera comparison seems to be stemming from, but the thing is that soap-operas look cheap. The Hobbit doesn't. At least not when you get used to the look and feel of it. The amounts of detail and clarity in the image make it feel hugely expensive, even if the sets and costumes look less real and more like sets and costumes.
I'm not sold either way on HFR yet, but I think it's far too early to right it off, outright just because you don't like change.

It's not because of digital at all. It's because it's a smoother 48 frame per second shot, and also because of some of the post processing they did on it. They shot it on REDs which are fantastic cameras and only a few films are still made on film. A good portion are digital. And it's because of the way the backgrounds jitter along which is due to image smoothing, and because of the 48fps it's completely unbalanced and makes it look like a soap, which use a lot of image smoothing. There's a reason why television is 29.97fps and cinema is still 24fps even in the age of digital. It's because of the look and feel of a movie which is supposed to detach you from real life.

Also IMAX is 70mm film, and not the usual 35mm, and gives a different aspect ratio. Skyfall was shot at 24 frames per second which is the standard frame rate.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
****
« Reply #534 on: 01-29-2013 02:06 »

Ya, Skyfall was not shot in HFR, Tachy. So far The Hobbit is the only film that's been released that has been shot in the new HFR.
Tachyon

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #535 on: 01-29-2013 02:13 »


Well, that answers my question, then: I guess that it was the aspect ratio that made it tough for me to relax and suspend disbelief at first.

Googzeez

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #536 on: 01-29-2013 04:40 »

This might help:
Tachyon

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #537 on: 01-29-2013 04:54 »


Thanks.  I meant IMAX compared with 1.85:1 or 2.35:1.

cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #538 on: 01-29-2013 11:19 »

There's a reason why television is 29.97fps and cinema is still 24fps even in the age of digital. It's because of the look and feel of a movie which is supposed to detach you from real life.
The only reason that film standard is 24fps is because it's the lowest possible frame-rate that doesn't look horrendous and like you're watching a flip-book, i.e. it was the cheapest option.
Initially, there was no standard framerate for shooting or projection, hence why so many old-timey movies seem to move at inconsistent speeds (handcranked cameras, no standardised speed, etc).
They eventually settled on 24fps for the reasons I already explained and it just stayed that way until now. They never sat down and watched 60fps films and said "No, it isn't cinematic enough". I'm not convinced that our reactions to high frame rates aren't just because we're not used to it and we're used to higher frame rates being used for cheaper fare, hence us associating the two together.
ShepherdofShark

Space Pope
****
« Reply #539 on: 01-30-2013 00:13 »
« Last Edit on: 01-30-2013 00:24 »

Les Miserables

First I should mention that the only screening of this film that didn't finish at a ridiculous hour was the 'Gold Class' screening, so I enjoyed free popcorn, a massive reclining leather chair with adjustable footrest, and a button to bring a waitress running if you wanted anything to eat or drink (also it's 18+ only so there's no little scrotes in the audience). I have to say it was most enjoyable and I will pay the extra again if I get the opportunity.

And so the positive part of the review ends. This film sucks to no end (and at over two and a half hours it certainly felt like it might have no end). I need to make clear that I am a fan of musicals so this isn't just an ignorant "what's with all the singing?" review so I'll try and speak about the flecks of decentness that manage to poke through the mire of crap.

Anne Hathaway gives a great performance at the beginning of the film as we follow her from working in a factory to losing her job and being forced into prostitution in the seedy underbelly of Paris. It all happens rather too quickly though but at least we have a journey for our character, so that when she gives her extremely emotive rendition of 'I Dreamed A Dream", there's actually a small spark of empathy and sorrow for her plight.

Unfortunately, every other character in this film fails to connect with the audience (at least one member of it anyway). The intentions and emotional states of the players in this piece are all announced by the lyrics, which reminds me of a certain opera penned by a certain red headed cartoon character in a certain season finale. It made me feel angry.

I think the director forgot to do his job in making us connect. Perhaps he just thought copy and paste from the stage show would be all that was needed, but it seems there were formatting issues. Whoever directed this also has an obsession with close up face shots so when the long notes are sung it's hard not to play "count the fillings".

Character decisions also lack any logic and emotional states change with underwear (perhaps more often than that, since it is set in Paris). These things are perhaps more forgiveable in a stage show, not so on the screen. I urge you not to see this film, whether you have seen the stage show or not - I haven't and I hated it, my girlfriend has and she still left deflated saying: "I really thought it would affect me much more than it did".

2/9 it doesn't deserve to be marked out of ten
Googzeez

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #540 on: 01-30-2013 04:48 »

There's a reason why television is 29.97fps and cinema is still 24fps even in the age of digital. It's because of the look and feel of a movie which is supposed to detach you from real life.
The only reason that film standard is 24fps is because it's the lowest possible frame-rate that doesn't look horrendous and like you're watching a flip-book, i.e. it was the cheapest option.
Initially, there was no standard framerate for shooting or projection, hence why so many old-timey movies seem to move at inconsistent speeds (handcranked cameras, no standardised speed, etc).
They eventually settled on 24fps for the reasons I already explained and it just stayed that way until now. They never sat down and watched 60fps films and said "No, it isn't cinematic enough". I'm not convinced that our reactions to high frame rates aren't just because we're not used to it and we're used to higher frame rates being used for cheaper fare, hence us associating the two together.

You obviously haven't taken a cinema studies course. I don't want my films in 60fps, the fluid motion kills the feel. If healed a camcorder and watched 60fps footage you will want to rip your eyes out.  I'm a little woozy right now so I won't go into mass detail. Easier scenario: I play many video games on my 60hz screen so they're displayed at 60fps even if the game is rendering at 220fps and it's a different buzz entirely. At 60 it's smooth, and it's what the eye sees at about. Our brain is smart enough to put the movement in between the frames at 24fps and makes us process more for we're filling the blur with our own brain's interpretation of the movement if you catch me. I've sat down with 60fps films and said, "This isn't cinematic enough, it looks like a cheap ass soap opera filmed with dimestore digital cameras."

And don't get me started on DSLRs as an excuse for a camcorder.

Sorry if my ramblings are incoherent, I've been up since 6 and I'm waiting for a paper to be sent to me.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #541 on: 01-30-2013 11:15 »

I studied film production at university, actually, but I don't see what that has to do with anything.

Your argument still doesn't go beyond "It doesn't look like what I'm used to!"

Quote
If healed a camcorder and watched 60fps footage you will want to rip your eyes out.
I honestly don't know what this sentence means.
Googzeez

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #542 on: 01-30-2013 21:55 »
« Last Edit on: 01-30-2013 21:59 »

I studied film production at university, actually, but I don't see what that has to do with anything.

Your argument still doesn't go beyond "It doesn't look like what I'm used to!"

Quote
If healed a camcorder and watched 60fps footage you will want to rip your eyes out.
I honestly don't know what this sentence means.

Cinema studdies =/= film production. My argument is that is not It doesn't look like what I'm used to, but it does not look as good as the current standard so why change it. Artistically too, it looks better at 24.

Also:
I missed the "you" between if and held. Auto correct then threw an A and E in held.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
****
« Reply #543 on: 01-31-2013 05:16 »

Cinema studies =/= film production

Ya, seems like film production would be the one to give you more technical, in-depth knowledge. Haven't taken either though, so I can't say that for certain.
Spacedal11

Space Pope
****
« Reply #544 on: 01-31-2013 06:18 »

I'm taking film production right now although currently the classes I'm in this semester are audio and lighting but the fps discussion still comes up. I've heard many things about the Hobbit's HFR but I saw it in regular 2D so I can't comment on my thoughts about that. And while I don't like HFR when I see it on an HD television or something, it really never occurred to me that the standard frame rates are at the rate they are.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #545 on: 01-31-2013 12:42 »
« Last Edit on: 01-31-2013 12:45 »

It was film production in that they taught us to make films, but it involved a great deal of theory, too. We had essays, I had to write a dissertation, we had lectures specifically aimed at film history and the theory behind things such as writing.

And yes, we actually made films, too - which I'd say gives me a better knowledge of the subject than someone who just read about films in books.

But my point is that you don't need to have studied something to an academic level to have a valid opinion on it. You need to know what you're talking about, yes, but that doesn't mean you need to have taken a course on it and the opinion that you do is completely pompous.

I think that HFR could potentially become an interesting tool in a film-maker's arsenal and I'm not prepared to make a complete judgment of it based on one film-maker's work in one film - especially as it's drastically different to what we're used to and it's going to take time to make sure that we aren't just rejected it because it's different.


My argument is that is not It doesn't look like what I'm used to, but it does not look as good as the current standard so why change it. Artistically too, it looks better at 24.
But your argument for why "it doesn't look as good" is because it looks the same as other cheap formats to you which suggests that you don't like it because it's different. The closest you've seen to it before is those cheap formats, so you're creating a mental association between the two.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
****
« Reply #546 on: 01-31-2013 23:05 »
« Last Edit on: 01-31-2013 23:06 »

Ya, really. So far, Googzeez, it sounds like you've seen it in mostly low-budget films, and ONE high-budget film. There's simply not enough examples of its use to judge it on yet. Since it hasn't been used a lot, filmmakers don't have a great idea yet of how best to utilize the technology in a way that may fix some of the issues critics have been complaining about. I don't think that means we should throw it out entirely and stop experimenting with it...that just seems stupid to me.
Googzeez

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #547 on: 01-31-2013 23:22 »

And the problem with the high budget is that there's a point that everything becomes too perfect, to lifelike where you start to see through the point of live actors, for in The Hobbit you could really make out the prosthetic work from the perfect clarity. It's great that we can see such remarkable detail, but you're taking a step back from what makes a film great, which is the strive for perfection. I mean, they had imperfect lenses 40 years ago, but then you couldn't quite make out if that alien was really an alien or a human. My argument is more on principal then it is on technology, which in that case I could be filming all of my things in 60fps! And my camera, the Panasonic HPX-170 could film in 60fps. I chose not to because in my opinion, 24fps is the perfect frame rate. That's from an artistic standpoint. And I mean put a TV show next to a movie and you'll probably say the movie looks better. Even if it's an HBO show, the movie will look nicer. It's because there's a real magic that's captured at 24fps that you miss with a smoother image.
~FazeShift~

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« Reply #548 on: 01-31-2013 23:27 »

Let's get the review thread back on track with some reviews... or I delete the sillyness.

Indie Game: The Movie
Documentary following the devs of some popular indie games of the last few years, Super Meat Boy, Fez and there's the guy from Braid in it for a bit.
About the stress and pressure of releasing a game with a very small development team
It was fairly good, maybe worth a look if you've played any of those games.
C+
Googzeez

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #549 on: 01-31-2013 23:31 »

I'd be curious if you were to compare Indie Game: The Movie to Minecraft: The Story of Mojang. I hear they're quite similar, but I've not seen either of them, and The Story of Mojang is legally up on The Pirate Bay. As in put up there by 2 Player Productions.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #550 on: 02-01-2013 12:37 »

Let's get the review thread back on track with some reviews... or I delete the sillyness.

As for that argument Googzeez, surely it's now up to them to create prosthetics that look better on this format and so forth rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.

I'll finally write up some reviews of the last 3 films I've seen, later today. I'm dedicated to the thread topic.
~FazeShift~

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« Reply #551 on: 02-01-2013 14:59 »

I watched the start of The Good, the Bad, the Weird last night, just the train heist is great.
Recommended watch for action adventure!
UnrealLegend

Space Pope
****
« Reply #552 on: 02-02-2013 13:21 »

Was just watching The Dark Knight Rises for the first time since I originally caught it in cinemas. Didn't enjoy it quite as much. I still think Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway do excellent jobs, but there's a few too many plot holes and eye roll moments.

.
sparkybarky

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #553 on: 02-02-2013 17:34 »

I thought it was awful. The contrived plot points just really ruined it. ALL the police officers going underground?? Yeah, that's a great strategy. It's been several months since I've seen it, so I don't remember everything in great detail.
Googzeez

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #554 on: 02-02-2013 21:41 »

I think that the United States government would of done something more then sit there idloly the entire time, and I think that they jumped the shark for the entire movie. That for me was the worst part of the film. Albeit Nolan did a great job directing a terrible script, and most of the acting was great.

Long live The Dark Knight!
~FazeShift~

Moderator
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« Reply #555 on: 02-03-2013 02:06 »
« Last Edit on: 12-14-2013 16:16 »

Flight
First I would like to thank this film for getting Nadine Velazquez' boobs on screen, awesome work guys!
Denzel is good as usual, playing an alcoholic pilot when a mechanical failure on his flight causes him to crashland the plane.
He saves nearly 100 people, but because a few people died in the crash, an investigation into his life is started.
John Goodman has some good scenes too.
A-

The Man With The Iron Fists
RZAs wuxia film, lots of OTT wirework fights with OTT bad guys, and Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe, it's pretty cheesy but entertaining in an exploitation way.
C+

Inseparable
Thought this was really good, set in China, a guy is interrupted and saved, from hanging himself by Kevin Spacey, a strange neighbour.
It's slowly revealed the man is slightly unstable after some terrible events happened in his life that puts a strain on his marriage and work, and his new neighbour friend go on some vigilante adventures (Spacey appears as a Batman like character a few times, which is rad).
Spacey is great and I laughed quite a few times at the quirkiness but it also has some touching moments, the main actor also appearing in RZAs movie above, coincidence!
B+
Googzeez

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #556 on: 02-05-2013 21:50 »
« Last Edit on: 02-05-2013 21:51 »

Thirteen
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke

Today I had the unfortunate idea of watching films from the period of films I hate the most, the early 2000's. And this blunder from 2003 ranks for me at least as one of the films that wants so desperately to be good, but falls flat on trying to hard. Cinematography that makes you want to puke, and atrocious acting from 20 year olds trying to be 13, and then there's the plot. There's none of it to be found, just gratuitous jailbait. The movie cuts between scenes without having enough time to explain what's going on in the shot, and from a directing standpoint, did not have enough actual subsistence to be called a plot. I was very lost in the first half of the movie. It revolves around a 7th grader getting into the popular scene, doing things that only happened in my high school by senior year. Except huffing air duster and punching people. That whole intro scene was whack. This whole movie is whack. This teen exploitation film is one to avoid at all costs.
D-
winna

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« Reply #557 on: 02-06-2013 01:59 »

most of the end half of Jack and Jill

I'm sure most of you are aware that this is not a movie.  I wasn't feeling well and I was desperately trying to get some sleep... (still haven't gotten much in the past 20 hours, but I think I'll be able to soon), and so I came across this strange deformed child desperately trying to pretend to be a movie...  it failed to put me to sleep because my morbid curiosity was just intently purposed to whatever this horrible atrocity was.  The whole thing was just patently absurd, and I don't even have to go into detail about why this is such a horrible movie (especially since it's not a movie).  If you're not familiar, imagine the worst adam sandler movie ever where adam sandler plays himself and himself as a twin sister of himself, and as himself has to dress in drag as his twin sister version of himself as himself.  Oh and Al Pacino is in the movie... as Al Pacino.  That's the movie.... except it's not a movie.

I mean... this movie was like if a wolf came over to dinner at your place one night wearing a wool sweater, making the worst mexican jokes, and insisted it was a giraffe.  Then attempted to get you out of your knickers and proceed to perform fellatio on you with a rubber ducky... while fucking you in the ass and still very insistent that it was a giraffe.  That's what this was... not a movie.

Rating:
Googzeez

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #558 on: 02-06-2013 04:35 »

Rating:

As physics, I completely agree. Ohmy god. It sucked.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #559 on: 02-06-2013 13:01 »

Wreck-It Ralph

When I was a child, I wanted nothing more than a Sonic the Hedgehog action figure. In fact, what I really wanted was Knuckles the Echidna, a side-character from the Sonic franchise, but sadly, I grew up in a time where video games were still seen as a relatively obscure oddity with nothing of any real value to offer.
Sure, they were popular with kids and turned a tidy profit, but there was little penetration into mainstream culture beyond the odd news item regarding how violent video games were breeding a generation of hit-and-run-driving mass-murderers. Sure, occasionally, a film would mis-guidedly attempt to cash-in on the success of a game, as was the case with Super Mario Bros. and The Wizard. Sure, you might even get the odd nod to someone like Mario or Pac Man in a passing gag in a sitcom or in the form of a question on a quiz show, but that was pretty much it. Nowadays, you can buy a Mario chessboard. Nowadays, there's a third wing of the BAFTAs specifically set up to honour games. Nowadays, they make films like Wreck-It Ralph.
Wreck-It Ralph not only serves as a love-letter to the world of video games, but it does so on a multi-million-dollar budget. I would never have imagined, as a child, that one day, there would be a film in which Sonic the Hedgehog and Bowser both appeared and that such a thing would be considered normal enough to just be a pair of minor cameos left in the background. I don't need flying cars to feel like I'm living in the future.
The film comprises a wonderful bit of cinematic world-building as we're introduced to the lives of the characters that make up the games at an old video arcade along with where they live and how their land, behind-the-curtain, works. It's a world with every bit as much fun and thought put into it as the world that the toys inhabit in Toy Story or the world that the cartoon characters inhabit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Even stronger than Wreck-It Ralph's universe are its characters. Ralph is an instantly loveable underdog - made all the more instantly loveable by the casting of John C. Reilly. Every character in this film has a clear basis as an amalgamation of classic gaming heroes or villains, but they're all morphed and twisted into something more unique and with their own personalities, hopes and dreams. And perhaps that's part of what works so well here: the fact that Ralph's story is an extremely relatable one. Who can't relate to the tale of someone who doesn't fit in, but wants to make something of themselves in spite of it? It doesn't matter if you were raised on a diet of Tetris and Donkey Kong; that concept is universal.
Sadly, the film squanders its solid foundations for much of the first act on simple video game references. It falls into a trap of thinking that a reference is inherently funny and that simply showing Dig Dug or mentioning Lara Croft is worthy of a laugh. As anybody who's followed the decline of Family Guy will tell you, simply making reference to something in pop-culture does not good comedy make. You have to actually craft a joke whilst you do it. This is especially upsetting given that Wreck-It Ralph is the debut feature of Rich Moore, graduate of The Simpsons and Futurama. Futurama, alone, has two outstanding episodes based around making fun of classic video games, so if anyone should be bringing rich, intelligent comedy to the table, it's him.
Thankfully, the film finds its footing midway into the proceedings. Soon the gags begin to land and the story begins to engage on a deeper level. And then, you're into the final act...
The final act plays out much like 2012's other love-letters to specific genres: The Cabin in the Woods and Frankenweenie, by which I mean that it basically throws everything that the film possibly could onto screen at once, but all within a well-organised and intelligently structured way that serves the story. The result is a wonderful, thrilling and heartfelt finale to a film that manages to make up for any earlier shortcomings.
Wreck-It Ralph isn't a film that left me giddy with joy upon leaving the cinema, but it is a film that left me hungry for a sequel. The world-building element was one of the film's strengths and the huge amount that we haven't seen yet, combined with intriguing world-rules and a set of great characters all shape up to suggest that we'll be seeing something of real quality in the inevitable second outing. Does that suggest that Wreck-It Ralph is a missed opportunity and never quite the sum of its parts? Perhaps. But it also tells me that it worked well enough for me to want more, and that's got to be a good thing, right?

7/10
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