Monday, May 21, 2012

Dark Shadows Movie Review

Sadly, this movie can be summed up in one sentence: Tim Burton failed! Wow, it feels bad to say it but it is true. We could also add: Johnny Depp failed! To state it simply and obviously, I was very disappointed in this film.

The previews made this look like another funny, quirky movie from Burton and Depp and it certainly starts that way. The movie begins with a voice-over narrative that introduces Depp’s character Barnabus Collins, a member of the rich Collins family that has founded his town and rules with love and power. However,  Barnabus attracts the love of the wrong person when the house maid falls in love with him and he sleeps with her but denies his love for her. He screwed over the wrong person; the maid is in fact a witch and curses Barnabus into a vampire.  He is then trapped in a coffin and buried, only to be released by accident two centuries later. When Barnabus returns to the world, it is the 1970’s and he must help his decedents reclaim their company and fortune. This is all fine and well except the plot goes downhill fast after this. 

Depp is humorous as usual and the movie mixes a nice dark atmosphere and humor as a Burton film always does…that is until about the thirty minute mark. The plot quickly unravels and I was shocked that a film with such a horrible plot managed to be made! I haven’t seen a plot fall apart like this in a long time and I never expected it to come from Burton and Depp, who I usually love. I have tried to figure out why this movie disappointed me so much. Yes, the plot stunk…I mean really stunk, as in my 13 year old nephew could write a much better one. But what else was it? The acting was good for the crappy script they were given, weird but good, and the soundtrack was fun. Yup, it must have purely been the plot. OH and the fact that this film screamed horribly of being only a paycheck maker! I thought most of these actors could afford to pass on a film like this but apparently they all just needed a quick check to pass their time until their next good film. Really, Johnny Depp? You are worth millions! Really Michelle Pfeiffer? You’re an icon! I’ll give a pass to the lesser known names because I’m sure they needed money, but really Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter? You’re like the Hollywood It Couple for weird money-making movies. You could have scrapped this project before it made it to the screens and stole my money and two hours of my life. Heck, it wasn't even two hours. You could have used an extra fifteen minutes to make it two hours and possibly explain away some of the discrepancies that were THROWN at the audience randomly at the end.  Considering this movie was based on the TV show that ran from 1966-1971, you would think they could covered the plot a little better or just thrown out what really wasn’t needed. You know it’s a bad sign when the audience is laughing, not because the movie is funny but because it was ridiculous!

I could write for hours on how disappointed I was by this film but instead I’ll leave it at that. I’m still working on redoing my rating system so I’ll just say, if I had to, I’d give this film a 2 out of 5 stars with the two stars only being earned by the first 30 minutes, some funny lines and a hilarious sex scene. I sure hope Burton’s Frankenweenie will be much better than this monstrosity. I’m hoping the much needed time he neglected to give this film was given to his next film. In the future, it would do him well to actually flesh out the plot and treat his audiences like they are just a wee bit smarter than a cantaloupe. I don’t like plot points being told to me at the end of a movie rather than being shown to me throughout the film, especially when the plot points do nothing for the plot. This was such a sad experience for me…I think I need to go watch Sleepy Hallow and Nightmare Before Christmas to recover! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ebook Release: "Whole Again"

After a long hiatus, my third short story, "Whole Again," is now available for purchase from Amazon. It can be read on Kindle or on the Kindle app for iPads, PCs and MACs. Thank you to Kortnee for all her hard work editing and to Neil Wells for my awesome cover! Thank you also to my wonderful support system for always pushing me forward. After a long semester, I needed to get back to my writing. Bill, mom, dad, Sarah, Kristin, Gabe, Kortnee, you are a few of these wonderful people and I can't tell you how much it means to have you behind me. (These are just a few, there are more. Sorry if your name isn't listed.) Thank you also to my followers on here, twitter and facebook for the ongoing support. 

Story Description: (Short Story) Claire quit doing drugs before she got pregnant but it would 

take strength of character and the support of her family to break out of the abusive 

relationship that got her started on drugs in the first place. A recovering addict, Claire shares 

her story of destruction, abuse and redemption.

Hope you enjoy! Comments and reviews on Amazon are always appreciated!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"The Avengers" Movie Review

It took adjustments and pain medicine to get me to this movie but I made it: that's how much I wanted to see it! I have now been in bed for two days because of the pain from sitting that long and I don't regret it: that's how awesome it was!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love my superheroes! It's going to be a great Spring/Summer for superhero movies and The Avengers kicked it off. What a great way to end my semester of hell and start a summer of recovery! I have so many things to say about this movie that, if I said all of them, you would probably be reading the longest blog ever. SO, I'll TRY to keep it short. 

The Avengers brings together Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye as a team of super humans who must save the world from Loki (Thor's adopted brother) and his other worldly army. I won't say much about the plot because a.) you should see it and b.) it's a lot to type out while trying not to give too much away. I will say that S.H.I.E.L.D, led by Nick Fury, must bring together the "Avengers Initiative" to battle a force that is simply too much for one superhero and the heroes are less than willing until something happens that makes them all ban together.

This movie is so full of amazing actors and superhero splendor that the movie theater is sure to be full of nerdgasms! Robert Downey Jr. is back as Iron Man; Chris Evans has been unthawed as Captain America; Chris Hemsworth has returned from Asgard as Thor and the audience is given a deeper look at Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner, and Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson, the only two heroes who are 100% human and the only two who haven't had their own movies. Oh wait, did I forget someone? No, I purposefully left out The Hulk because he deserves his own paragraph as I have voted him "Best Recast!"

Mark Ruffalo joins the team as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, a role previously done on film by Eric Bana and Edward Norton (let's put aside the television portrayals). Anyone who watched the 2003 Hulk was probably as appalled as I was...I like Eric Bana a lot but wow, that movie was horrible. So, when the movie was redone in 2008 with Edward Norton I was excited! I love me some Edward Norton and The Incredible Hulk was far superior to the 2003 film. When I heard that Edward Norton would not be in The Avengers, I was worried... that is until I heard Mark Ruffalo was the recast. I love me some Edward Norton but I have always found Mark Ruffalo to be a great actor so I was excited to see what he could do. I. Am. Impressed! I even hate calling Mark Ruffalo a recast because he did such an amazing job. So, from now on, we shall only refer to Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, no more recast! He owned the role and made it his own. If you can't see how excited I am, I dare you to track down my best friend, ask her how much I LOVE Edward Norton and then realize that, if I'm this excited about Edward Norton being replaced then, wow, Mark Ruffalo must have been amazing. Yes, yes he was! I could probably devote a whole blog to how impressed I am with Ruffalo but, don't worry, I won't.
"We believe you!"
"You believe me?"
"YES! We promise, we know you are awesome!"
"Oh, well, then....I guess I am ok...Hulk smash!"
There are many things that impressed me with this film. I loved the humor that was weaved in throughout the film. After those years with the "bad" Batman films, (yes I know I am mixing DC and Marvel but stick with me here), I didn't know how much room would  be allowed for humor in superhero movies out of sheer fear that they would tank. I must make it clear, I am one of those weirdos who enjoys the "crappy" Batman movies even though I know how ridiculous they are,  but I also know how filmmakers fear repeating the days associated with George Clooney's nipple suit. That said, The Avengers was hilarious, but not in the quirky Batman-nipple-suit ways.  I'm talking about witty humor that sticks with you even days after the film. I've witnessed this humor throughout Iron Man and sprinkled in Thor and Captain America but I haven't laughed this often during a superhero movie since the days of the 90's Batman films and, trust me, that was usually not good laughter. The Avengers managed to be action packed and hard hitting while still being light and humorous which I attribute to the fact that this film captured the human side of the heroes and mixed it well with their hero sides. I have to say that I think it is Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo who ignite the humor as they have amazing friendship chemistry on screen. All I can say is: Awesome!

I also have to point out that the plot was extremely well done in this movie. I was never left thinking, really? I'm supposed to believe that? The script was well-crafted and thought out. There are even nods to World War II, Captain America's day, in creative ways that had this history minor going, "YES!  If they hadn't added that, I would have been pissed!" Also, the action kicked off almost right away because there wasn't exposition weighing down the beginning :::cough Green Lantern cough::: This is most likely because the exposition has been covered in the previous movies but it was nice to see a movie where the history was mixed in, instead of being thrown at the audience in long monologues or introduction scenes :::hack Green Lantern hack::: ....sorry, I must be getting a cold.

Alongside the all-star cast, hello Samuel L. Jackson, you awesome man, and the great portrayal of Loki by Tom Hiddleston, you creepy badass you, there are some great moments in this film where I got to go, "Hey it's (insert celebrity name here)." Of course, the whole room got excited when Stan Lee made his appearance, I repeat, nerdgasm, but I was equally excited when I saw Harry Dean Stanton appear. It was also great to see all of the movies come together with the supporting cast, not just the heroes, from those films. I was pleased to see Professor Selvig from Thor, Stellan Skarsgard, play a pretty big role in the film and it was great to see Pepper Potts from the Iron Man films, Gwyneth Paltrow, make her appearance. Even though Natalie Portman couldn't make an appearance as Jane Foster, she was mentioned. I appreciated this because it reminded the audience that all of these heroes have separate lives and films but come together when one superhero just simply isn't enough. AND I'm always happy to see Agent Coulson, Clark Gregg, as he brings a lighter side to some scenes and adds depth to others. Simply put, this film is layered with great acting.

I do have two complaints but neither has to do with this film directly. These are simply comments to help me vent. ONE, seriously people, have you not learned to stay put for the extra scenes at the end of the movie? These are the scenes that give you a small glimpse of the next films so SIT DOWN and enjoy them! While I'm mentioning it, one of the special scenes might be a bit confusing unless you are a super-duper-comic nerd (that's a compliment) so, after you see the movie, go look up spoiler explanations like this one. Anyhoo, please watch the scenes so you aren't confused or hurry out of the theater so I am not distracted by your stupidity. Some people will never learn. Sigh. And TWO, really cinema people, you put the Batman and Spiderman trailers in the middle of the previews and then threw Prometheus and Frankenweenie (adorable but really?) in at the end? Talk about poor management, you should end with the kick ass trailers but oh well, at least those are my only two complaints, right?