Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Return of the Blog: Avengers, MIB III & Prometheus

Just when you thought we might never return, we are back. This week’s Movie Monday, which featured the new Disney-Pixar movie, Brave, (click the link if you haven’t read our review yet!) hopefully marks the start of more consistent blogging. I know we promised to be more consistent months ago, but life happens. 2012 has just been a crazy year! I am sure our lack of blogs has left a giant hole in your lives, so let’s get started!

Starting off: Happy summer! Summer officially began on June 20. This really means nothing to us working folk though other than way too hot weather, lack of football and crappy television programs. On a positive note, the summer season does bring with it time to catch up with and get interested in “new” TV shows (meaning those we haven’t seen…duh!) thanks to the beauty that is Netflix. We also look forward to this summer’s Shark Week, which starts August 12, as well as the London Summer Olympics and the Tour de France! Summer time also comes with fun cookouts, trips and of course, new movie releases! We kind of feel bad that we didn’t get around to reviewing some of the top flicks that have already come out, but below we will list some brief thoughts on each!

The Avengers

The Wife: Love, love, LOVED this movie! I enjoyed it enough to catch it at the theatre twice. Following my second viewing, I realized how much I actually liked the film. After I saw it the first time, I felt slightly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, but it was almost that post-Christmas letdown feeling. I had been anticipating this movie for so long and had such high expectations…and then it was just over. It took a second viewing for me to really notice how much I loved The Avengers. Once again, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark stole the show. Oh how I love me some Tony Stark! I thought the cast all meshed well together and their chemistry was spot on. The movie was funny, action packed and the plot seemed cohesive and not scattered, which was something I was afraid could happen with this film. Joss Whedon did a great job directing (I still don’t drink from the Whedon fanboy Kool-Aid, but I give credit where credit is due)! I can’t go without mentioning the amazing EYE CANDY of this movie either. Ladies, even if you aren’t on the super hero bandwagon, watch this! I will say that I don’t think The Avengers out did the Marvel movies that preceded it. I still think that both Iron Mans and Captain American standout as better overall movies. However, The Avengers is one of the top if not the best movie of 2012 so far (I do expect The Dark Knight Rises to upstage The Avengers, but you never know)!

Hobo Dan: I was pretty nervous this would turn into a disaster. It ended up being pretty good. I don’t think it’s better than the Iron Mans, but it is solid. It sets a new standard for action movies. It seemed like the whole movie was one large ongoing action scene. Sometimes this was good and other times not so much. The director, Joss Whedon does a great job of managing the absurd amount of personalities. It’s not perfect, however. Either by choice or by sheer star power, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark (AKA Iron Man) seemed to stand out among the rest of the Avengers. Also, Hawkeye, played by The Hurt Locker vet Jeremy Renner seemed a little forgotten. Needless to say, I am amazed this movie worked at all. Combining all these actors and all these iconic characters should have ended up like Batman and Robin. It didn’t reach the bar set by The Dark Knight (but who expected it too), but was still a solid film that has me excited to see what Marvel does with the Avengers next.

Men in Black III

The Wife: Here come the Men in Black, the galaxy defenders! Ahhh Men in Black, an old favorite. Despite the second one being rather blah, I was not about to pass up the third installment to an old favorite childhood series. It’s amazing what having zero expectations can do for a movie experience. I went into the theatre prior to seeing Men in Black and didn’t know what to think. I knew it would be cheesy, but it is that cheese that made the original Men in Black as well as other top 90s flicks so great. Needless to say, I really enjoyed Men in Black III! It was simply FUN. Sometimes that’s all you need from a movie. Will Smith was, well Will Smith, which to me, seldom disappoints. I mean, I love that guy! Tommy Lee Jones was funny, and MAJOR KUDOS must be given to Josh Brolin! At times I thought that Brolin really was Tommy Lee Jones! Man that guy can act! Was Men in Black III cheesy? Sure. Was it not as good as the original? Yes. However, it was simply entertaining and I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it! I am a sucker for nostalgia, and this flick really took me back!

Hobo Dan: A sharp pain ran through my abdomen when I heard they were making a third MIB. I loved the first one. I hated the second one. I figured that was enough. Apparently not. Thankfully this was not a soaking wet turd on the side of the road. While not better, or even close to the original, Men in Black III redeems the franchise from a terrible second outing. Will Smith played himself, as always. Tommy Lee Jones is consistently great. The surprise for me was Josh Brolin’s performance as a young Tommy Lee Jones. He was spot on and a true bright spot in the film. There were times when I seriously thought they had dubbed over his voice with Jones. The plot was weak, but the star power of Smith and Jones, combined with Brolin’s acting skills (maybe even star power?) made the movie out perform my expectations.

Prometheus

The Wife: Having only seen the original Alien, I wasn’t super excited for Prometheus, but I still looked forward to it simply because I enjoy going to the movie theatre and the trailer looked promising. I am also not a tremendous fan of Alien. It’s not that I hate the movie; it’s just that it really isn’t my cup of tea. As Prometheus is a prequel, I figured it was ok for me to see this without having watched the Alien sequels. I though Prometheus was pretty good. It provided me with an evening of solid entertainment. I often found myself at the edge of my seat during the movie. Acting-wise it was decent. However, guy who plays Trey from The O.C. just came off as, well Trey from The O.C. to me! When his character got sprayed with the fire all I could hear in my head was the infamous “Mmmm What Ya Sayyyyy” song that played when Marissa shot Trey in the season two finale of The O.C. That epic scene would later be spoofed in SNL’s Dear Sister sketch. Ahhh memories! I really miss The O.C. Ok; I’ve veered off topic, so back to Prometheus. It was good and if you are a fan of the Alien franchise, then I would certainly recommend it!

Hobo Dan: LOUD NOISES! That is all I could think about watching the trailers for this movie. A prequel for the Alien movies directed by the original director of Alien (Ridley Scott); cautious optimism? The word prequel still gives me Episode I flashbacks where I'm sitting in a far away jungle contemplating the meaning of it all. I sit with very mixed feeling about this movie. It was enjoyable, don’t get me wrong. However, I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t criticize its use of “Cheap Scares”. If you go looking for the Alien franchise, you’re going to be disappointed. Sure there are things that harken back (or forward?) to the original films, but the tone here is different. Prometheus is a much deeper experience compared to Alien. It asks questions about the very meaning of life. I enjoyed it; the acting was great for the most part (minus Logan Marshall-Green stuck in character as Trey from The O.C.). I guess I just expected more. It kind of just ended without any real resolution. Sure it’s a prequel, so it is technically just the beginning, but it feels so different from the other Alien films. I was looking for a more complete package.

So there you have it, our thoughts on this summer’s bigger movies. Movie Monday posts should become regular staple once again as we plan to see several upcoming films (YAY for Dark Knight Rises!). We also have some Best Picture Project posts planned for future Mondays. To semi-quote The Terminator, “we’ll be back!”

Monday, June 25, 2012

Review: Brave

After a semi-long hiatus we are back with a movie review of the latest Disney-Pixar creation, “Brave.” We know we have missed out on several awesome movie reviews, but don’t fret because Thursday’s post will fulfill your Dump fix on all of those blockbusters we missed (Avengers, Men in Black III and Prometheus). An update of what we’ve been up to during our MIA time will be provided as well. We know you all have been holding your breath with anticipation for our return! But for now, it’s all about BRAVE!!!

The Wife: Once again Pixar shows that it OWNS with Brave. Along with looking incredible, Brave produced a different twist compared to your traditional princess tales. With its strong female character, Scottish Princess Merida, Brave also offers an exciting, humorous plot that both children and adults can enjoy. In addition, the film’s soundtrack is awesome and really completes the overall feel and tone of the movie.

Brave tells the story of Princess Merida, who is trying to change her fate. Stuck in the tradition of having to marry a pre-selected suitor, Merida finds herself unhappy with her future and is more determined than ever to change it. Her mother, while loving, has seemingly controlled Merida for years as she has worked to shape her daughter into becoming a suitable future queen. Merida and her mother disagree on many things. For example, her mother often seems to disapprove of Merida ’s “not so lady-like” activities, such as her love of archery. (Seriously with Katniss from The Hunger Games and now Merida from Brave it seems like archery is the new “cool thing” for a strong female to do!) Like many mother-daughter relationships, the two do not always see eye to eye, but it is evident from the film’s start that there is a deep love and bond between them.

As she is forced to choose a suitor, Merida finds her castle in chaos and decides she has had enough of her “determined” future and sets out to change her fate. Of course, she meets a witch in the woods, and if we have learned anything from fairytales, it is to never trust the creepy old witch in the woods! With the witch’s help, Merida concocts a spell to change her mother, which will in-turn, change her fate! However, surprise surprise things don’t go as planned. Her mother does in fact “change.” She changes so much that she becomes a BEAR! I, for one, did not see this coming in the story! For the most part her mother’s personality does stay in tact while she is in bear form, however, the spell will become permanent if Merida doesn’t figure out how to reverse it. To help save her mother, Merida must, of course, be brave. While her “mama bear” is an inconvenience, it brings the mother-daughter team closer than ever before as they work together to change both their fates.

Overall, I really enjoyed Brave. It isn’t the best Pixar film, but it has some tough competition being compared to the likes of Toy Story (one of my favorite trilogies of all time). It did exceed my expectations, however. I loved the strong-willed character of Merida , and it is refreshing to have a princess tale that doesn’t need a prince to save the day. Instead of romantic love, Brave teaches us the strong bond and love of family. While I am a Disney-Pixar fanatic and may be a little biased, I would still encourage everyone to see this wonderful film!

Hobo Dan: Sons of Scotland! You have come to fight as free men, and free men you are. What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight? Aye, fight and you may die, run and you'll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our FREEDOM! Oh... wrong Scotland movie. I can’t believe the Wife got all the way through her review without doing that!

Brave was good, but not great. I guess I have just come to expect more from Pixar with the likes of Toy Story and Finding Nemo. Now don't get me wrong, there were things in the film that blew me away. Hair, for instance. The hair in the movie looks incredibly real. Also, the soundtrack is out of this world amazing. I guess the main thing that got me about the story was that there really wasn't an evil force. Sure, there was that giant bear, but it was more of a climatic set piece than a true nemesis. The true struggle of the film came from within, and while I will never knock a good introspective story, the way things worked out seemed just a little contrived. However, it is still a quality, enjoyable film.

The film was appropriately dedicated to the late Steve Jobs.