Saturday, January 31, 2009

Review: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2008) [Reviewed By Clifford Kiyabu]

Directed by: Uwe Boll
Written by: Doug Taylor (screenplay) Chris Taylor (video game "Dungeon Siege")
Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences.
Released: 11 January 2008 (USA)
Starring: Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, John Rhys-Davies, Ron Perlman, Claire Forlani, Kristanna Loken, Matthew Lillard, Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds.

Plot: a once simple family man named Farmer sets out to find his kidnapped wife, Solana, and avenge the death of his son, who was killed by animal warriors called Krugs.

Review: 5/10

My Thoughts: Director Uwe Boll is a man known for many things, he speaks his mind rather you’ll like it or not, he’s a man who’ll do whatever he wants despite the disapproval of the masses, he’ll defend what he does with two simple words “F*** off” fallowed by a very aggressive hand gesture, he is also one heck of a boxer, anyone who’s seen the internet hit boxing match between him and a handful of movie critics getting beat down know he is not a man to screw around with, He’ll knock you down faster than you can say “HUH?” And leave you wishing you’d never spare with the man, which I will say is something to admire about the man, because how many people talk the talk but never truly walk the walk especially in a place like Hollywood, being who he is and not giving a flying f*** on what people think of him is impressive I will say.

However of all the things he is, a good filmmaker is not one of them, but I wouldn’t dare say that to his face of course because the last thing I’d want is to piss off someone who has an edge over me (Remember boys and girls; your friendly neighborhood CW is a lover and a writer not a fighter), so angering him would be like putting an 8 year old up against Mike Tyson, it’s just simply not going to end well, well for the 8 year old that is (which of course would be me in this case). In the film industry he’s known as the maker of video game movies because the majority of his portfolio consists mainly on, well, video game films. Which are loosely based on the games they are made from, and they are always poorly budgeted and poorly directed and edited (most of the time), with probably no effort to make it how it originally was intended to be, but according to Mr. Boll it is “A work of “F***ing Genius”, because according to him he is “The Only Genius in the business” thing is; he is a genius I won’t deny that, but the only genius? No. what he lacks however is creativity and a filmmaker without creativity is no filmmaker indeed. His main problem is instead of trying to make it as how it should be; he makes the film how he wants it to be and disregards what the fans wanted, now I’m not saying that a good filmmaker does whatever the fans demand, no, but should the fans at least get their money’s worth since they are paying for it, and especially when you have a particular project set with one type of fan base. Isn’t it wise to please that fan base instead of taking what they love and crap all over it? Thing is I’ve always believed the whole point of making film adaptation of a Novel, Comic, or Video game into a movie was to satisfy the audience that appreciated the story back when it was still in its original format. But apparently Mr. Boll and I don’t share the same beliefs or the same compassion appreciating the people who made it something. Now over the years I have seen just about all of Uwe Boll’s films, yes even though I dislike his style of filmmaking I still watched them and will continue to watch every new film he makes, why you may ask.

Because I believe that one should never judge nor criticize a film unless they have seen it from beginning to end. I feel that you shouldn’t criticize a filmmaker unless you’ve seen his/hers work, and what kind of film critic would I be if I just spoke ill about the man and his work if I’d never see anything he’d made? I wouldn’t dare call myself a film critic if I did something as awful as that. So with that I view his films; and let me tell you, till this day his most worst film made remains to be none other than House of the Dead, but it does seem that over the years his films have gotten somewhat a little better, now I’m not saying better as in it’s worth checking out, I’m simply implying that over the years his work has gotten a little less crappy, but still remains full in shit. Like with In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, the film is somewhat okay if you’re a fan of fantasy films and know nothing of the game it’s based off of.

But it is way off from what the fans would have wanted. What Director Uwe Boll basically did with this film was defecate all over what the fans loved about the game then poured lighter fluid onto it, lit it on fire and laugh in their faces while he puts out the fire with his urine essentially destroying the very last bit of dignity it had. the plot doesn’t really hold strong and rips off on the very concept of the LOTRS trilogy within a two hours and seven minute runtime, and to make things even more so agonizing is the fact the film has little back story for the individual characters from the get go, we know little of any of the main players but must still go along as if we’d supposed to already know who they are and what their place is in the film, the other excruciating thing is the fact that the film is only two hours and seven minutes long, with a film in a genre such as this the film is both rushed and moves way too slow at the same time, how is this possible you might ask, well I will gladly explain it to you, see the film is made to be an epic tale, or as I like to call it Uwe Boll’s “LOTRS epic tale” and as painful as it is for me to say it, it is indeed on some level an epic tale. Problem is the timeline moves way too fast in many parts of the film that one often can get lost, especially during certain scenes involving battles sequences, and then on other parts the film moves slower than it should and actually feels like it over stepped its boundaries on several occasions. And the ending, which don’t get me started on how rushed it was, it felt as though they just wanted the ending to come and be done with as soon as possible, because there just wasn’t any emotion to it, there was no power behind the ending like an epic tale should have overall I just couldn’t get into this no matter how much I tried..

The story is about an unspeakably evil army rampages across what was an idyllic, peaceful world, destroying everything in its path, looking to conquer the mighty Castle Ebb and vanquish the King himself! Amidst this backdrop of war in the Kingdom of Ehb, between the evil Gallian and the ruling King Konreid, a once simple family man named Farmer sets out to find his kidnapped wife, Solana, and avenge the death of his son, who was killed by animal warriors called Krugs.

As for the acting; you’d think with an all-star cast like the one he picked you get at least something worth your wild, but you don’t get to have your cake and eat it, then again, you don’t even get your cake [Laughs] problem wrong is everyone pretty much phones in their performances with no effort to give a damn, you could say that everyone was ether in need for the cash or Uwe Boll had some kind of voodoo magic over them, I will admit though the special effects were pretty damn good, but what’s special effects good for if there’s no creativity or originality behind it. But of course I will say a few things. One being the fact that Jason Statham was well… Jason Statham, is it me or is he acting exactly the same way in every single film? It’s starting to look like the only character he knows how to portray is that of himself. Leelee Sobieski was a letdown, she started out as a fantastic up and coming actress who was going to be great until she to a break from acting, and now it seems like the woman who came back is not that up and coming actress I once saw, instead she gives a lackluster of a performance which looks phoned in half the time while the other half is so dead that you’d get more excitement out of standing in line at the DMV. John Rhys-Davies is a terrific actor, he’s great at acting, has a magnificent personality, and always seems to pick good projects to work in, however his choice was way off, not only did he pick a bad film to act in but his performance came out rather dry compared to his previous films, but I blame Mr. boll for this of course. Burt Reynolds who I’ve always enjoyed watching for years was disappointing, it seriously did not match for this film one bit. Ray Liotta, much like Reynolds, was out of place in this film and I often wondered why he was casted for this film. Ron Perlman is yet another who sadly does not fit in this flick at all; he was way out of place throughout his performance. Claire Forlani was once a favorite of mine, back when she acted in films that were bearable and her acting was actually good, now days it seems like she not even trying to act anymore. Kristanna Loken was once an up and coming actress who had A-lister written all over her after she starred in Terminator 3, however it seems after she starred in another film made by Uwe Boll (BloodRayne) she dropped down to the C-list faster than you could blink, she soon became yesterdays news. Her performance is very much weak; she always seems to have this same expression on her face that carries into all her films. That expression is one that resembles someone who is at a party and doesn’t know anyone there, after awhile you wonder to yourself who invited her and why she still remains. Whoever told actor Matthew Lillard that he could act was seriously lying. Not only can he not act, but he is embarrassing to watch.

Final Say: after giving this film viewing I’ve noticed that Director Uwe Boll has gotten a little better over the years and his film do seem to be a little less annoying to watch, however they still remain like chore to those who are viewing. I cannot recommend this to anyone as I see no point in ever wanting to see this film, but know that if he keeps up with bettering his directing style he may one day prove my and others like me wrong, until than his films still remain awfully bad. Watch at your own risk.

Copyright 2009
All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 30, 2009

Review: Babylon A.D. (2008) [Reviewed By Clifford Kiyabu]

Directed by: Mathieu Kassovitz
Written by: Eric Besnard (writer) Maurice G. Dantec (novel)
Genre: Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, language and some sexuality.
Released: 29 August 2008 (USA)
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh, Mélanie Thierry, Gérard Depardieu. Charlotte Rampling, Mark Strong, Lambert Wilson, Jérôme Le Banner, Joel Kirby, Souleymane Dicko.

Plot: Veteran-turned-mercenary Toorop takes the high-risk job of escorting a woman from Russia to America. Little does he know that she is host to an organism that a cult wants to harvest in order to produce a genetically modified Messiah

Review: 7/10

My Thoughts: As a person of faith I knew all too well what this film’s message was trying to say, and even though I still fairly enjoyed it because what it did say was in this world humanity is vastly divided into a great deal of different demographics, from the faithful to the faithless. We have people dying in the name of god/gods everyday to those just trying to survive the chaos that life holds for us all. Overall it’s a dog eat dog world, and practically everyone is to some extent trying to f*** over the next guy. Yes it’s a harsh world people, and the faster we know and understand it the faster we can survive it.

Based off the novel “Babylon Babies” written by French-born Canadian writer Maurice G. Dantec. Babylon A.D. is a film that takes us deep into a near-future that is clouded with destruction and death running ramped throughout the world with greed and lust leading the charge of chaos. Though I will admit I have never read any of the books this film is based off of I therefore can’t make a comparison between the books to the film but rather review the film as a standalone. The film was called one of the biggest bombs of 2008, with a lackluster performance in the box office and for receiving a bad reception by movie critics everywhere. I as a critic took a pass on this while it was in theaters due to the bad reputation it had received. However I still decided to give it a chance when realest on DVD because of the oath I took when I became a critic (Not a real oath as a critic but rather a personal promise I made to myself) that no matter how bad a film is said to be and or how lousy of a box office gross I will still see it from start to finish before judging it. So despite the incredibly bad reception (even the theater employees told me it was bad) I waited silently for some months before opening my mouth with an opinion. And I must say; yes book based films are and never will be anywhere nearly as exhilarating as the book, you name any film made to date that is in some way based off a book and I’ll tell you the book is still by far batter due to having more free space on what you want done and how events can turn for the better or worse with no worries of having a bog brother studio breathing down your neck wanting to change everything you’ve work so hard to put together.

But in my opinion I feel a great deal of critics where a little too harsh on this film and over exaggerated with how bad the film was. I personally liked it quite a bit and had fun watching it. Sure it didn’t quite live up to the hype that surrounded it prior to its release, but what film doesn’t live up to the latter of its novel? But still I do however agree the film could have been a lot better then what the final product turned out to be and quite frankly I don’t blame the director for the film lacking in storytelling or the way it was pieced together, because after all he was blocked at every corner by the film studio for the get go. And therefore was not his fault. How many times do we see good films turned bad at the hands of the bigwig executives? (Especially those at Fox studios). But aside from that, the plot is still somewhat decent, the pacing goes quite nicely and the action is very much enjoyable. The FX is fantastically done along with some really good acting. And because I viewed the “Unrated” version you could say that is why I liked it a little more than some, also on the DVD the films come with a animated prequel that isn’t much, heck even the animation isn’t all that great, it’s more like moving stick figures than actually animation, but it does in fact serve to give it’s viewer a little more insight in the world of Babylon A.D. and it’s main plot, it proves to be more helpful than actually a pain. Like I’ve said earlier, this did not live up to it fullest, however it was not at all as bad as many has described it to be. I would recommend this if you’re in the mood to kill an hour half of time with someone you know.

The movie is about; it is the not-too-distant future. Thousands of satellites scan, observe and monitor our every move. Much of the planet is a war zone; the rest, a collection of wretched way stations, teeming megalopolises, and vast wastelands punctuated by areas left radioactive from nuclear meltdowns. It is a world made for hardened warriors, one of whom, a mercenary known only as Toorop (Vin Diesel), and lives by a simple survivor's code: kill or be killed. His latest assignment has him smuggling a young woman named Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) from a convent in Kazakhstan to New York City. Toorop, his new young charge Aurora and Aurora's guardian Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) embark on a 6,000 mile journey that takes them from Eastern Europe, through a refugee camp in "New Russia," across the Bering Strait in a pilfered submarine, then through the frozen tundra of Alaska and Canada, and finally to New York. Facing obstacles at every turn, Toorop, the killer for hire, is tested like never before, in ways he could never have imagined--as he comes to understand that he is the custodian of the only hope for the future of mankind. For the first time in his life, Toorop has to make a choice: to make a difference or walk away and save himself. Too bad it came on the day he died.

As for the acting; this was said to be Vin Diesel’s come back film, but instead turned out to be yet another lackluster by the stare. Which is sad because I actually liked his acting, and after being missed from the mainstream spotlight for quite some time. Babylon A.D. was supposed to have been his big break back into the big leagues, but now proved to be yet another sad attempt, he was supposed to be the Schwarzenegger or the Stallone of this generation but more and more he’s starting to look like this generation’s Jean-Claude Van Damme, which believe me is not something to be proud of. Still he’s acting has proven to be adequate and therefore has my approval. Michelle Yeoh is an incredible actress, I loved her performance in “Sunshine”, but she just wasn’t doing it for me in this one, it really seemed like she was just phoning in her performance and not trying hard enough. Nothing against her personally but she should have done a better job than this. Mélanie Thierry was great, though I found her to be a little annoying at times, I really enjoyed her performance. I can’t say I’ve any of her previous work, but after watching this it makes me want to look into other films she starred in. Gérard Depardieu is a fantastic actor, and I’ve liked just about everything he’s starred in (except for a few films of course)but I felt he wasn’t really there is the film, it’s was more like he was doing this for the money rather than for the art of acting. Charlotte Rampling is another magnificent actress, who I personally enjoyed her performance in films like “Swimming Pool” and in last year’s “The Duchess”, but I really do feel that her presence in this film was really underused, for someone who is supposed to be the main villain she is only in about ten maybe fifteen minutes of the film, and that’s towards the end of the film mine you. So I really was disappointed with the fact a great actress like herself is thrown in the back of the film when she should have been up front and center of this film.

Final Say: What can I say that hasn’t already been said, Babylon A.D. is a fairly enjoyable film for me, though it had its faults, and many they were, I really have to say the downplay rep this film got in theaters was highly over exaggerated. Though I did not see its theatrical version but rather its unrated version on DVD I still could be wrong about the theatrical cut. However don’t avoid this film because of the bad rep, see it for yourself and then make your judgments about it. I recommend it.

Copyright 2009
All Rights Reserved


It appears some things just won’t disappear in this business, bad directors, lousy actors, and now, Ghost Rider. the good people over at Bloody Disgusting is reporting that Sony/Columbia is officially moving forward with a sequel to the comic book adapted GHOST RIDER in which Nicolas Cage starred as the skull burning bounty hunter for the Devil, Johnny Blaze. From what they’ve said the studio is currently looking for writers to write a new script for the sequel, Nicolas Cage is said to be already on board to reprise his role. Also another rumor circling around is that they are also looking into who will be the next major villain to face off against the Rider.

On a personal note; I didn’t care too much for the first film because it wasn’t dark enough, I being a hug fan of the comic was left unsatisfied with the finishing product of the first film, however if things turn out good, and this film is better the first movie than I will withhold my judgment on this film and give its sequel a chance.

More to come on GHOST RIDER 2 and more as we hear it.

Voyage Of The Dawn Treader sets it’s Sails over to FOX!

In what appears to be a miracle handed down to Walden Media and its Narnia fans after last month’s upsetting news of Walt Disney Pictures departure from the chronicles of Narnia series. Many had already considered the series to be dead and remain unfinished after Walt Disney Pictures announced that for budgetary and logistical reasons the studio would not exercising its option to co-produce and co-finance its third film "The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader" with Walden, however Walden Media kept its hopes up and said it would continue to shop the film around in hope of finding another studio to co-produce and co-finance the third film and the remaining films in its series. But now it appear all in not lost after all as 20th Century Fox stepped in to pick up the slack left behind by Disney, and has said to develop the third film “The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader” side by side with Walden Media. Variety says that the two sides are still working out budget and script issues, but the hope is to shoot the film at the end of summer for a holiday 2010 release through the Fox Walden label.

More to come on Voyage Of The Dawn Treader and more as we hear it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Emily Blunt is Black Widow?

As director Jon Favreau gears up his new and returning cast for the upcoming sequel to Marvel Comic’s blockbuster smash hit Iron Man. Variety is reporting a rumor that Emily Blunt is in final negotiations to play Natasha Romanoff in Iron Man 2. Romanoff is a Soviet super spy who doubles as the Black Widow, a skintight black costume wearing assassin that is enhanced by high-tech weaponry.

If the rumor is in fact true she will be joining the previously announced villains Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell in the sequel alongside the returning cast members such as Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow, while on a rather sad note; actor Don Cheadle will be replacing Terrence Howard for the role Jim Rhodes aka War Machine.

No official word as of yet on what type of role will the Black Widow play in the Iron Man Sequel, will she play a hero, villain, or a love interest to Robert Downey Jr’s character Tony Stark. This and more will be answered as it unfolds.

Blunt is best known for her role in The Devil Wears Prada, The Jane Austen Book Club and Charlie Wilson's War. She is also starring in The Wolfman with actor Benicio Del Toro, The Wolfman is scheduled to hit theaters everywhere November 6th.

Friday, January 16, 2009

No Nick Fury for Jackson?

Shocking news has hit the comic world hard as blockbuster actor Samuel L. Jackson who has been a fellow comic book reader for many years announced he will not be reprising his role as the bad ass director of S.H.E.L.D.Nick Fury. He told the Los Angeles Times that talks about him returning to the role in future Marvel Studios have broken down:

"There was a huge kind of negotiation that broke down. I don't know. Maybe I won't be Nick Fury. Maybe somebody else will be Nick Fury or maybe Nick Fury won't be in it. There seems to be an economic crisis in the Marvel Comics world so [they're saying to me], 'We're not making that deal.'"

You can read the whole story by the Los Angeles Times here

Jackson made a cameo as the S.H.E.L.D. director Nice Fury in the 2008 blockbuster film Iron Man, and was originally set to reprise his role in its sequel Iron Man 2 and the upcoming Avengers movie. But now everything is up in the air for the actor and his character.

Watchmen Back On?

After nearly a year of grueling battle between Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox over a dispute regarding the rights to the upcoming motion picture Watchmen, both studios have come to an agreement in a confidential settlement.

The terms of the agreement will not be disclosed, but it is said to involve a very hefty cash payment paid out to Fox and a percentage of the film's box office. Fox will not be a co-distributor on the film, nor will it own a piece of the Watchmen property going forward. The studios said in a joint statement. Both sides had this to say.

Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox have resolved their dispute regarding the rights to the upcoming motion picture Watchmen in a confidential settlement. Warner Bros acknowledges that Fox acted in good faith in bringing its claims, which were asserted prior to the start of principal photography. Fox acknowledges that Warner Bros. acted in good faith in defending against those claims Warner Bros. and Fox, like all Watchmen fans, look forward with great anticipation to this film's March 6 release in theatres

Meaning both side have made compromises over their legal dispute and are willing to play ball. Warner Bros also stated that though producer Larry Gordon was not a party in the case is said to be pursuing the producer and his attorneys to reimburse it for the costs of the settlement.

On a personal not; Watchmen was once called the film that would never be made, than it defied all that was set against it and was filmed as promised. Then it became known as the film that would never get realest due to the legal actions set against it by the studios. But now it looks like that it has done it again and proved to defy all those who did not want it to see the day of light, and now thing appear to be back on schedule for a March 6th release. A great deal of fans and new comers to the comic has long been awaiting the release of Watchmen since talks had first burst out on the web as mere rumors, and now their wait may soon be over. Let’s keep our fingers cross folks.

Review: Bride Wars (2009) [Reviewed By Tony-D]

Release: 2009
BOMB out of ****
Director: Gary Winick
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Bryan Greenburg

Oh god, not already…

All girls look forward to their wedding day. All guys, especially the ones dating the strongly religious ones, look forward to after the reception. And then after their wedding, it goes downhill from there. The wife starts popping out kids at the rate of sound, and the man start getting gray hairs from being around her. The dreams of happiness are shattered like that, and they have no one to blame but themselves.

Now imagine being stuck in a fucking movie like “Bride Wars,” with no way of getting out until the movie ends.

“Bride Wars” is the newest romantic-comedy (and I use that term loosely) by hack director Gary Winick, starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson for no selling point except to see them in a thirty second catfight. Winick, who has directed his fair share of crappy romantic comedies in the past, already has a contender for one of the worst films of the year by making a romantic comedy that has little romance and no laughs. I couldn’t recommend “Bride Wars” to anyone… except for those few pervs that would pay ten dollars to jerk off in a movie theater at Hathaway and Hudson, and I’m sure someone has already done that.

But let’s not think about some guy shooting a load in the guy’s hair seated in front of him. Let’s talk about a more harmful product than a sticky substance – let’s talk about “Bride Wars.” Now what the fuck can we say?

Well Liv and Emma (Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, respectively) have dreamed of getting married at the Plaza in New York since they were in their pre-teen years. Now that the time has come that their boyfriends have now proposed to them (Hudson’s boyfriend played by Steve Howey and Hathaway’s played by Chris Pratt), they can finally go see a wedding planner (Candice Bergan, who is also the narrator of this movie) to schedule their days. The weddings are about two to three weeks apart from each other, and everything is working out perfectly… until the damn wedding planner fucks up the dates.

Needless to say, if you’ve seen the trailer, you know the rest of the story: they stop talking to each other for weeks at a time, talk to their friends about each other behind the other’s back, dye each other’s hair different colors, and have it out at parties. Without showing what it would take to even have a wedding at the Plaza, such as the cost of everything and what the preparations would be and whether the grooms agree with everything, the script allows us to watch just about everything else that has nothing to do with the wedding – from Kate Hudson getting fat off of chocolates and picking out pieces of her hair off of her head to Anne Hathaway being bossed around by the manly Kristen Johnson.

Oh, and spring break parties.

But not everything can be blamed on the horrendous script; some of it has to go towards director Gary Winick. While I think guys should be the ones directing romantic comedies (because from what we’ve seen with “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” guys do it best), I think guys should make a romantic comedy that would appeal to both guys and girls. Gary Winick has created a romantic comedy that won’t appeal to neither. I saw just as many ladies walking out of the theater as I did guys shaking their heads, saying, “Okay, so we SHOULD’VE seen Clint Eastwood.” After the movie ended I came to the conclusion how much we need Woody Allen.

My face remained expressionless throughout the whole movie. So did Kate Hudson’s. Coincidence? She plays a big-time lawyer working on this big-time case. She has the mouth of Juno McGuff and the attitude of Lil Kim. Her little subplot of this big case doesn’t go anywhere. After Hathaway keeps sending boxes of chocolates to her office, claiming to be her fiancé, she piles up on the weight. I guess obesity is the new form of comedy nowadays. Now I look forward to “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” even more…

But Kate Hudson isn’t a big deal. I knew what I was getting into with her right from the beginning. She was in “Fool’s Gold” and “My Best Friend’s Girl,” after all. The biggest disappointment, however, comes from Anne Hathaway. Right when you think that she has finally picked the right movie in her career garner attention to herself (that being “Rachel Getting Married”), she pulls an Eddie Murphy and stars in her own version of “Norbit.” She isn’t believable at all in this role. I believed her as a princess in “The Princess Diaries.” And I believed her as a spy in “Get Smart.” They were two fictional roles. But when she get to a role that is pretty realistic like this one (outside of the whole fighting between the two girls), Hathaway plays a normal everyday girl like this was her first role.

And it’s because of this movie that she won’t get any recognition for “Rachel Getting Married.”

It’s been said that the first movie of the year is usually the one to point which direction film will be heading to this year. If the film is “Bride Wars,” I’m worried we will have another 2008 on our hands. Not only did 2009 begin with a zero-star film, but it doesn’t look to get any better. Girls won’t like this movie, their limped-dick boyfriends will be sleeping, and ten bucks will go towards Gary Winick’s yacht.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

No Sails for Dawn Treader?

Both Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media have confirmed long rumored reports about backing out of the next upcoming Narnia sequel “The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader” to be true. that for budgetary and logistical reasons it will not be working together on "The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader" with Walden, this came as a shock to many Narnia fans of both the books and the films, after waiting a long three years for “Prince Caspian” to be made (due to legal reasons) now it looks like “The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader” may never see day one of filming since Walt Disney Pictures pulled out for the project which make up for half of the film’s finances. Though losing its key financer, Walden Media stated that it will begin shopping the franchise around in hope of finding another studio who will pick up the extra slack left behind from Walt Disney Pictures.

Personally, this did not go unforeseen, though the first Narnia film (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) managed to make all its money back with a very big amount of profit, it still lacked in what was expected of it due to some who had compared it to the epicness of “LOTR” and now after facing what is considered a lackluster performance at the box office for its sequel in 2008, this could be seen as a sign for future film failing in its post LOTR genre, so in my personal opinion it highly unlikely that the third film will be made at all, or not seen at least. Like I said, this was not unforeseen.

More news to come on The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader and more as we hear it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Review: American Teen (2008) [Reviewed By Kelsey Zukowski]

Starring: Hannah Bailey, Collin Clemens, Megan Krizmanich, Jake Tusing, Mitch Reinholt
Directed By: Nanette Bernstein
Released: 2008
Grade: B+
In Nanette Bernstein’s documentary, American Teen, she follows a group of high school students throughout their senior year in the small town of Warsaw, Indiana. Each person represents a different stereotype in high school. We have the jocks: Collin Clemens and Mitch Reinholt, the popular princess: Megan Krizmanich, the artsy outcast: Hannah Bailey, and the band geek: Jake Tusing. These people are treated as much more than just stereoypes and we see the struggles that each of them go through even those that seem to be at the top. There is someone everyone can relate to and most people should see a bit of themselves or someone they knew in high school in every person in the film.

Collin Clemens being the star of the basketball team in this conservative town is treated like a walking god. Collin loves the game, but he was trained to love the game by his Elvis impersonating father since he was little. He has been put under constant pressure by him by his father to score a certain number of hoops each game to impress the scouts. Their relationship reminded me of a much less severe version of the Nathan and Dan Scott relationship on One Tree Hill. If Collin can’t be this player and get a scholarship he won’t be going to college at all and will most likely be taking up his father’s other dream for him, an Elvis impersonator. Megan Krizmanich is under a lot of pressure from her father too. Her father as well as just about every member in her family went to Notre Dame. She does very well in school and is in just about every club, organization, and sport possible. Still, she questions whether she is good enough to get in.

Collin and Megan pretty much rule the school. Collin is a bit more likeable though. Megan has this image of being perfect, but her prevailing side seems to be a much nastier one. She is extremely controlling and goes out of her way to make others feel insignificant. Even something as small as the theme of the prom makes her vandalize property with anti-homosexual graffiti. Megan treats her own friends poorly. When someone else is interested in her friend that she claims is just a friend she goes out of her way to sabotage it. She holds grudges against her best friend over a small argument and when her friend is the bigger person and is able to apologize Megan still puts all of the blame on her.

At the other side of the social circle we have Jake Tusing and Hannah Bailey. Jake is in the band. He is viewed merely as a geek and even in the band circle he isn’t very popular. Jake spends most of his time playing video games and is lacking in the relationship department. He desperately wants a girlfriend and sets out to do so. He ends up dating a freshman who is in the band, but just ends up getting treated badly by her. Hannah is thought of by others as the weird loner. She was by far my favorite storyline in the film though. She is a free spirit and is unique rather than trying to blend in like everybody else. She is very much in love with her boyfriend. They have everything in common and do everything together. One night he dumps her and her whole word comes crashing down. She can’t face him and stops going to school. After awhile, it becomes less about him and more about social anxiety. She feels all alone and that she is physically and mentally incapable of walking in to her school again. After three weeks she is told that if she misses another day that she won’t be able to graduate in the spring.

What really made me admire Hannah was her strength in acting on her desires. She is very artistic and dreams of going to film school in California. Her father and grandmother are against this and don’t believe she can make it. Hannah talks about her ambitions in life and how she wants to do something important with her time and to be remembered when she is dead. I found myself relating to Hannah on so many levels as at times it seemed that she was taking words right from my mouth. This being a documentary it is all the more satisfying as it not just a character I am relating to, but a person like myself getting through high school and attempting to embrace life, adding this universal quality to it.

There was a lot of cartoon animation during the transitions in the film. For Hannah this was very fitting as she is artistic and has the imagination that would create things like this. Through these animations we are able to see inside her mind a bit more. This worked well for Jake too as his world is inside a video game, having his real world and this fantasy world collide is what he dreams of. The animations put his dream world to life in front of us.

American Teen is my favorite brand of documentary. As someone who prefers fiction over documentaries, I enjoyed the simple story telling motives behind the film. It didn’t have an agenda, try to persuade, or look down upon anything. It simply tells the story of these teens and the type of things everyone goes through. They really touch on each person in the film even Megan who is shown in a bad light for most of the film. We learn about her struggles, especially the disability and suicide in her family. She is not simply a villain, she is only human. I felt for Jake who is viewed as a dork. I don’t share his interests, but I was able to understand them and what it means to him. Really if he had a bit more self confidence he would be a great boyfriend for the right girl. I really appreciated that the film showed aspects of high school aside from just social circles and dating. It hits on school itself, pressures to get in to college, and each person questioning what the future will hold; which are all crucial parts of being a high school senior just moments away from building the life you want to have. There is nothing spectacular or even all that new about American Teen. I think they could have focused less on Hannah’s second boyfriend in the film, since Collin is the stronger character type in the role of the popular guy and focused more on Hannah’s openly gay best friend. In a conservative town like Warsaw there are definitely issues there and a great story that went untold. Still, American Teen is a very human film and a chance for us to see aspects of vastly different teens who have similar hardships. They are at the time in life that puts them at a crossroads, even shedding light on the differences between high school and college.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

TCWreviews' Presents: Best of 2008

As the Editor in Chief of I feel that it’s necessary of me to give a full detailed selection of the top 10 films that I deemed worthy of being called the top 10 astonishing films of 2008. So without further ado, I present to you TCWreviews' top 10 films of 2008.

[NOTE: the opinions expressed below are not the opinions of the whole TCW staff but are the sole opinions of the site’s Editor in Chief, Clifford Kiyabu.]

Rambo (2008)
Rating –9/10
Quick thoughts; Sylvester Stallone proved to the moviegoer community that he is as much the same man he was over 20 years ago with the fourth installment to the Rambo franchise, the film proved to be just as action packed as its predecessors but also carries a big heart and a plot that is more to the actual reality of the horror that is going down in Burma. Rambo was a real treat and I was very impress with Stallone’s performance. Rambo is number ten on my top ten list of 2008.

Juno (2008)
Rating –9/10
Quick thoughts; Juno was probably one of the most enjoyed Comedy/Drama’s of the year, it was smart and cleverly funny, Ellen Page is one heck of witty and sassy girl, I enjoyed her performance a great deal. Juno proved to be a delightful film that ended up being batter then I had originally expected, and deserve to be number nine on my top ten list of 2008.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Rating –9/10
Quick thoughts; the fourth installment to the Indiana Jones’s franchise was a hug success in my book, though it did get a somewhat mixed reception the film in “My Opinion” was a win to my standards. I think the real problem many fans as well critics alike hated it was due to the theme the movie had, where as the three previous films took a spiritual take as its overall theme with Nazis taking the lead as main villains, with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull the main villains are now the KGB and its theme takes a Sci-Fi tone this time around with a anti-communist overall feel, which I thought suited perfectly since the timeline of the film took place in the 1950’s McCarthy area. Though good, it sure will never be as great as its previous predecessors. But still it managed to be as good enough as to number eight on my top ten list of 2008.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Rating – 9/10
Quick thoughts; Hellboy II was a stylish and fantastic sequel to the 2004 Hellboy, not only was it good, but it turned out to be greater than the first Hellboy, the film gave a much deeper look into our red horned hero now dealing with having to go public with who he is and dealing with the racism that comes with the territory of being different then everyone else, we see our hero go through fighting a new villain as well as taking a few more wounds that go much deeper than flesh, ultimately The Golden Army still manages to hold that dark yet stylish comedy the first Hellboy had, making this number seven on my top ten list of 2008.

Wanted (2008)
Rating –9/10
Quick thoughts; Wanted is probably one of the biggest surprises of 2008, for one thing the film was juristically different from the graphic novel it was based on, loosely based on Mark Millar’s graphic novel by the same name, Wanted was considered on the bottom of my list of film wanting to see in summer of 2008. However, despite the hug changes done to the movie from the book, it still manages to come out a winner in a very big way, making it deserving to be number six on my top ten list of 2008.

Tropic Thunder (2008)
Rating – 9/10
Quick thoughts; I had long anticipated the realest of Tropic Thunder, and after waiting close to a year from when I first heard of it being made I was more than thrilled by the film overall. Tropic Thunder is considered to be the parody film fans have been waiting years for. This film contained stars up the wazoo, from having big time comedians actors like Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Steve Coogan. To big name actors like Nick Nolte, Tom Cruise, and Matthew McConaughey. Tropic Thunder turned out to be a winner in a hug way for me and is a must see for those who enjoy a real spoof film. Tropic Thunder is number five on my top ten list of 2008.

Iron Man (2008)
Rating –9/10
Quick thoughts; Iron Man is a film that lives up to its hype and the expectations for both comic readers and moviegoers alike, Robert Downey Jr. showed us in 2008 that he hasn’t faded away like so many proclaimed him to have, but starring and co-starring in two, count em! Two blockbuster smash hits! Making 2008 the year of the Downey Jr, and making Iron Man number four on my top ten of 2008.

The Wrestler (2008)
Rating –9/10
Quick thoughts; The Wrestler is probably one of the most heart wrenchingly beautiful dramas I had seen in 08. The plot which I don’t have to tell if you’ve already read my review on it, is remarkable, when seeing someone who has fallen so low that they cannot fall anymore lose that last little flicker of light left in their lives, it will make even some of the strongest all teary. Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei come back in a hug way with The Wrestler, their performances along with actress Evan Rachel Wood is purely fantastic, director Darren Aronofsky has done it again with another mind-blowing film. Making The Wrestler number 3 on my top ten of 2008.

WALL•E (2008)
Rating – 10/10
Quick thoughts; Pixar Animation Studios has been responsible for making some of the biggest and the greatest 3D animated films ever, and now they have outdone themselves with WALL•E, never before have I been so inclined as to re-watch this film over and over again, and no matter how many times I have always seen it, the effects of its emotions still get me as it did the first time I had seen it. The plot, though lacking it words, this film says more than what could ever be said through words. Making WALL•E number two on my top ten list of 2008.

The Dark Knight (2008)
Rating – 10/10
Quick thoughts; I don’t think I need to tell you why The Dark Knight is number one, but I will anyway, [Laughs] in 2005 we were astounded by the Batman Begins, for old batman fans it was a new begging for us into the world of the Batman, for new fans, it truly was a new beginning. However to quote Heath Ledger’s Joker “You've changed things... forever” is basically what this film has done for Batman fan new and old alike, how we perceive Batman has been changed forever, all due to director Christopher Nolan gave us a glimpse into the world of a Batman who is much closer to our reality than any other is past films. The only thing that this film continues to do to me every time I see it is make me a little sad knowing that this will forever be the very last completed work we see by actor Heath Ledger, such a brilliant actor taken from us far before his time, and he shell truly be missed. The Dark Knight is number one on my top ten list of 2008.

And now for the honorable mentions that almost made the list.

Cloverfield (2008) The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008) The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) The Incredible Hulk (2008). Kung Fu Panda (2008) Hancock (2008) Penelope (2008) The Forbidden Kingdom (2008) Max Payne (2008) New York Lately (2009)