Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Random Thoughts of a Movie Insomniac: Issue 4.

Well it's been another fun few weeks for yours truly as I have been able to see newer movies in theatres then I have before.  A few of those titles are not as new as some of the other ones, but they are still new to me because they haven't been released on home video just yet.  There isn't much posted much on my sister site The Vern's Video Vortex because that one is dedicated more to cult or classic films. Unfortunately I have not seen much in that department.  However,  My Troma challenge where I plan to dedicate a month to that studio will most likely will be appearing on that site in August.   Besides co hosting The As You Watch Podcast I was very lucky to be chosen as a guest for the seventh episode of FACEcast with Nick Jobe of Your Face and Kristen Lopez of Journey's in Classic Films. On the show we talk about manners in movies and then get into a good conversation about the movie "Cinema Paradiso" (both versions).  It was a lot of fun and even though I did bad at the end game I still had lost of fun.(Click on the words Facecast to learn how you can hear the show).  I may not post anything else on either site for the remainder of the week because of work and I need to prepare for a gig my band has on Friday. If you live in the Minnesota area check it out. Just click on the word  "Gig"to learn more.  Now on with the quick reviews.

Now You See Me.

This is the movie about the magicians who rob banks and then have to out smart the head of a police task force that is following them.  The cast includes Jesse Esienberg, Woody Harleson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco,Mark Ruffalo and Melanie Laurent.   For the most part this was a very forgettable but fun movie to watch.  I had no real issues on how they were able to pull of such feats and just enjoyed the magic show.  Yes, I am one of those people who doesn't mind being fooled when it comes to magic.  I even like when movies pull the rug out under me and let me know that I was being tricked the whole time.  The rug does get pulled, but what's revealed doesn't make any sense.  I thought about this really hard and if what happens is really true.  I should be able to go back and watch this again and see all of the clues that lead up to this ending, and you know what.  There isn't any.  Look at movies like "Fight Club" or "The 6th Sense".  The twists that were used in those features were not just thrown in and when you go back to re watch them.  You can see clues that were there that you may have missed when you first watched it.   This however had none of those elements and was a waste of time.

The Great Gatsby.

 The other slightly older movie I saw was the remixed version of "The Great Gatsby"  I remember reading the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald  in high school and being incredibly bored by it.  The story of Nick Halloway(Tobey Magurie) becoming friends with this mysterious rich guy named Gatsby(Leonardo DiCaprio)and helping him rekindle the relationship of his lost girlfriend  Daisy Buchanan(Carey Mulligan) never really sparked any interest in me.  I love what Baz Lurhman did with it's style and I thought the Jay Z soundtrack did add some nice little energy boosts to it  as well.  However once Gatsby and Daisy get together.  I found myself becoming more and more tired.  This is a 2 and a half hour long feature and at that point I no longer cared if Gatsby got the girl or not.  You know who I did wish get the girl.  It would be Nick.  That man does a lot to help Gatsby get with the woman he loves, but does he help him with scoring a date with Jordan Baker(Elizabeth Debecki).  No.   I realize the book is consider to be one of the best novels ever written and I do plan on re-reading it very soon.   I just never fully embraced these characters like I should.

Star Trek : Into Darkness.

 This was basically "Star Trek II:The Wrath of Khan", but with more people running, big action scenes, and unnecessary plot twists. It doesn't have the same level of fun and charm that the first one had.In that one it was established that they would go on to new adventures different from that of the original series.  Yet if that's true.  Why are they rehashing elements from the best movie in the franchise.

Pacific Rim.

 One of the more newer movies I saw was "Pacific Rim"  This had everything that the kid in me would love.  Giant Metal Robots vs Giant Alien Monsters. I loved that the story wasn't all that complex.  The actors were all good in there roles and the fight scenes were a lot of fun. This was the movie I wish those "Transformers" movies were more like.  Seriously one of these mecha machines from this flick could easily wipe out 20 Autobots or Decepticons.   The only major downside is that all of the action scenes happen at night and in the rain.  Is this the only time monsters can appear and wreck the city.  I mean it must suck having to drive home from work in the middle of a big alien invasion.  All the roads are blocked or destroyed. You can't take the freeway because one of the robots used it to crack an alien on the nogging.  To make matters worse you gotta drive home in the rain and your windshield wipers stopped working. 

The Conjuring.

Based on a true life case by paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren(played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga in the film).  This supernatural scare feature is one of the most stylistic haunted house movies to come out in a while.  The story is about the Peron family who in 1971 purchases an old home that is very much infested with evil spirits.  When your own dog won't even come in to the house it's time to check on if this is seriously a good purchase or not.  At first I thought this would be your typical average family with it's usual cliche characters, but this movie surprised me in that element. In most other movies the male never believes in ghosts until it is too late.   Roger Perron(Ron Livingston) may not fully believe in the paranormal but he isn't against having Mr and Mrs Warren come and investigate his house. Even the rest of the family all make choices that would make sense to most others if they lived in that situation. You may ask yourself, why didn't they just leave.  Well that isn't always easy and as you will discover by watching this.  It wouldn't have helped this family anyways.  What "The Conjuring" does best is build suspense. There are quite a few moments where the tension builds and builds and right when you think a scare is going to happen, it doesn't. The the scare gets you when you least suspect it.   The use of mirrors in certain scenes and the way the camera is placed just so you can see a quick glimpse of something scary is really impressive.  Horror movies don't scare me much, but this one startled me a few times.  I down right hated director James Wan's previous effort "Insidious" because that one felt like he was trying to hard to scare the audience by using a lot of the same tired cliches.  But in "The Conjuring" he knows how to effectively build the scares and doesn't have to use such load screeching music to do so.

Much Ado About Nothing.

 I'll be honest with you dear readers.  I really don't know that much about William Shakespeare, and have not seen or read many of his plays.  I do remember reading "Romeo and Juliet" back in high school and seeing the version by Baz Luhrman.  After that the only movie based on the Bard's work I saw was "A Midsummer's Nights Dream".  I always felt that trying to watch a Shakespeare play became a chore, and therefore have not seeing many of his stories.  When I read that Joss Whedon took a break from shooting "The Avengers" to adapt this play I became very interested.  This is a guy who has created a lot of geekcentric fantasy programs like "Buffy The Vampire Slayer", "Firefly", "Dollhouse" and one of my own favorites "Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog".  It seemed so out of place for him to do Shakespeare, but surprisingly it works. Mr .Whedon not only makes this style of language easy to understand. He also makes it enjoyable.  He stages certain scenes using a lot of physical humor that help juxtapose with the dialouge.  The black and white photography fits perfectly and it looks beautiful. The main story focuses on Beatrice(Amy Acker) and Benedict(Alexis Denishof) who meet at the home of her uncle  Leonato(Clark Gregg).  The two do not get along at all and are always found arguing.  Leonato along with Claudio(Fran Kranz) and His new wife Hero(Jilian Morgese) devise a plan to bring Benedict and Beatrice together without them even knowing it.   Co starring Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher.  This is one adaptation of the bard that I fully recommend .

Allright cats.  That is it for now, but I will be back shortly with another entry in my endless quest to see more movies.  


  1. I was extremely disappointed by The Great Gatsby. I agree with you about the characters, I felt nothing for them whatsoever. Above all I hated Nick, the one you wished would "get the girl." He was so annoying. I loved The Conjuring too. It scared the shit out of me!

    1. Thank you,Ben. I can understand your frustrations with Nick, but I didnt find him to be that annoying. I just found it odd that he was seeing a shrink about Gatsby. Didn't make sense to me.

  2. Yet another positive post about The Conjuring . . . I rarely ever venture out anymore to catch a movie while it's still in the theaters, but Adrienne and I are doing our damnedest to arrange childcare for one evening this week to catch it before it's gone.

    1. Thanks for reading. I hope you get a chance to see it. Even if you for some reason are not scared. You will see that it is still a really well made movie