Hanna trailer & new music from The Chemical Brothers

I’ve watched this trailer for Hanna probably ten times over the past few months, and I think the movie looks like it’s going to kick ass. At about 1:30 into the trailer, this song kicks in, and in the credits it says that the score is by The Chemical Brothers. Oh yes.

Well, now we have the full song that’s used in the trailer. It’s called Container Park, and it is indeed a Chem’s original.

Gone Baby Gone

I really enjoy movies like Ocean’s Eleven. You know, the kind that set up a whole bunch of facts and intriguing plot lines, then throw it all out the door risking insulting the viewer’s intelligence. The fine line that divides viewer awe and utter rejection is one that many movies flirt with, and few are able to stay on the awe side; Gone Baby Gone does so much more than flirt with this line, and its ability to be intriguing and emotionally powerful throughout make it one of my favorite movies of all time.

I apologize if you now think that I spoiled the movie, but rest assured that I haven’t. The great thing about Gone Baby Gone is that, while the plot is incredibly grabbing and outlandish, the movie has so much more depth than just the plot-line.

The characters in Gone Baby Gone achieve some level of relate-ability (unlike everyone in Juno…) that allows for an even greater level of like-ability or hate-ability (are those words?). Regardless, by the end, you are attached to everyone. Because of the characters personalities, what they fight for, and the situations they are placed in, the idea of Good vs. Evil isn’t applicable here. The choices that must be made aren’t black and white. These choices make the movie an extremely personal experience for each viewer, and what you think is right and wrong will probably be questioned by the end.

The impressive cast that includes Casey Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Michelle Monaghan delivers one hundred percent. As I said, if you speak to someone who has seen this about which characters were right and which were wrong, there is a good chance that you will wind up arguing because of the discrepancies in your opinions. I’m not sure that any view is better than the next; it’s all relative to who you are and what roles you play in life.

If you have the chance, please see this incredible film. In my opinion, it was definitely overshadowed by some other great movies that came out in last-2007 (ie. There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men). While those other movies were great, Gone Baby Gone is much better.

I Am Legend, or at least a movie

I Am Legend ThumbNow, I don’t want to knock Will Smith, being the sole actor (for the majority of the time) in any movie has to be incredibly difficult, but the movie didn’t rise to the occasion. I Am Legend builds on the premise set forth by Richard Matheson’s short story that in our efforts to cure cancer, a virus has hijacked our bodies killing 95% of the population with around 1% of us being immune. The other 4% turns into a kind of modified vampire that burns from UV exposure and lives in “hives”.

Will Smith aka Dr. Robert Neville is the only man left and for the past 3 years, he has been working to find a cure to the infection by testing the infected animals and humans. Along with his dog Sammy(?), which is immune to the airborne virus, but not to the physical transference of it, we see Neville in his attempts to fix all of this. While the movie provides plenty individual conflicts in the form of Neville tricking the infected, the infected tricking Neville, and the madness involved with that, the end really doesn’t add up.

If you have heard anyone say that this movie was scary, don’t doubt them. It’s not the Hannibal/realistic/keep-you-up-at-night scary, it’s just the jumpiest movie I’ve seen. One thing that could have been done to make it worse? Have the infected be real. The CG looks amazing, but it falls into the Uncanny Valley where it is almost real, but some tiny discrepancies add up and make the models look horrible.

My last complaint: what was up with the end? I haven’t read the short story, but I’ve heard that the end of the movie isn’t anything like the story. Just as it all comes to a point in the final action scene, it’s over. One final scene of pretty Vermont in the fall and we’re done. Unless they are planning a sequel, which they aren’t, so much more could have happened. I feel that more development or closure is necessary. It ended like 28 Days Later, and as anyone who knows me can attest, I hold that to be the worst possible ending to an amazing zombie film not unlike I Am Legend.

On a positive note, I really enjoyed how the movie was put together with the information of how the infection came about being woven into Neville’s dreams. It doesn’t come across as being cliche at all. It’s a nice change to the chronological order of events that is usually used.

I Am Legend is interesting going in, but nothing comes out of it. This movie has broken many sales records for December, proof that the great trailers paid off. I just don’t feel that any momentum will (or should) be kept.

Sunshine is my Apollo 13

Sunshine Poster ThumbnailSunshine is a science fiction film that takes on a plot similar in theme, only far into the future (I hope), to Apolo 13. The premise of the movie is that the world is in an extended winter resulting from the gradual death of the sun. We (humans) sent a team of scientists to the sun to restart it, but it failed. Sunshine follows the second team sent up with the same mission as the first. Maybe it isn’t that similar to Apollo 13, but I figure that the two are some of the best space movies that I’ve ever seen, so they fall into the same categories for better or worse.

All of the basics are covered here. You have your scientists clandestine to save the world, but their predecessors already screwed up. You have group conflicts due to personality problems, decisions that are made, and the necessary sacrifice of people to save oxygen. On top of that, there’s a whole spiritual/insanity/abstraction aspect thrown in for size.

This really is one of the best movies that I have seen this year. It’s captivating from the get go and there are twists in the plot the entire way through. Unlike most movies, it doesn’t really have a decidedly positive or negative ending; your interpretation of the ending completely depends on how you felt towards certain characters and other events in the movie.

For those who care, this movie has the label of being an indie film (Fox Searchlight). That being said, the CG in Sunshine is far too complex for the movie to have had a small budget. It has its fair share of famous actors (Cillian Murphy, anyone?), but the budget for this movie couldn’t have been that small. Either way, it was amazing. It had the abstractions that fit in an indie film, but the major studio production value. Quite amazing.

Daft Punk’s Electroma

Daft Punk’s Electroma PosterI must say that I was surprised by Electroma. After seeing the trailer on Daft Punk’s site and hearing that all spoken words were left out, I was worried that it would turn into some obscure metaphorical movie I wouldn’t get. Turns out I was wrong (well, kinda).

Electroma is the story of two robots (Hero #1 & #2) in the Daft Punk costumes wandering around the California desert when they arrive at the quintessential “Southwestern America” town, except for the part where every townsperson is also wearing a full Daft Punk outfit. In the initial driving scene you see the license plate that reads “HUMAN”, cluing you into the duo’s desire. After going through an external transformation to become human and the failure that follows, the final journey sequence depicts the self-destructing nature of their goal in which they both choose to destroy themselves rather than remain in robot form.

It’s a simple story of the desire to be something you’re not, and the consequences that follow. In no way shape or form is it an optimistic tale. All that junk about being who you want and making more of what you have is thrown out of the window.

Apart from the depressing subject matter, I really enjoyed the film. I disagree with the claims that the scenes are drawn out far too long. But if you go into this movie hoping for some sort of a candy coated picture that looks like Discovery sounds, you will be sorely disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, Electroma looks beautiful, not because the colors are popping out, but because of the composition Bangalter puts together with the various cut views of each scene.

On top of the amazing picture, the music featured in the film fits perfectly. None of it is Daft Punk music, which is surprising at first, but no Daft Punk music would really fit in here. The music used isn’t really odd, but it’s not mainstream music either (just like the movie). Although I know that a soundtrack won’t be coming out seeing as the movie is only about an hour, I’m going to try to research what songs are in it because each and everyone is sick.

This is a movie that tells a simple story in a very abstracted form, but it’s not hard to understand. If you can view Electroma not wanting to be entertained the entire time, it will be an enjoyable film for you too.

Transformers fulfills all of my expectations

Transformers Poster

Seriously, Transformers met every expectation of mine, both good and bad. Rather than go through a review of what I thought of it (I loved it), here’s just a list of my expectations:

  • BIG robots fighting for most of the movie
  • Cheesy scenes meant to make little kids laugh uncontrollably
  • One of the most simple plots ever made to sound complicated
  • The climactic end fight scene
    • The final showdown between Optimus Prime and Megatron
  • Good triumphs over evil
  • Loud noises throughout
  • Teenage romance
    • Complete with geek and white-trash girl falling in love
  • Long transforming sequences
  • Half-second transforming sequences
  • Government information exposure
  • Hacking by people too pretty to understand what hacking is
  • Did I say robot fighting?

Google’s counter to SiCKO

Michael Moore SiCKO

Google, in a suprizing and dissappointing PR move, has decided to come out against Michael Moore and offer to place HMO ads directly across from search results that include SiCKO. Why? Because Google believes that:

Moore attacks health insurers, health providers, and pharmaceutical companies by connecting them to isolated and emotional stories of the system at its worst.

Like many people, I have already seen Michael Moore’s SiCKO, the film about the sad state of the health care system in the United States. I saw the movie before it came out in theaters because Moore let it known that he wants people to torrent it, and that he didn’t mind at all that it was ripped to YouTube (although later taken off). But that’s beside the point.

I am fairly confused at Google’s reaction to the movie. Is this Google’s first overt move to reject it’s public user-base, turning instead to the big business ad customers? Of course, Google has more money to make by doing what it has done, but is it really worth it? SiCKO has received near universal praise for its criticisms, and I agree with the New York Times when they say that it is a “cinematic indictment of the American health care system.”

Apart from the purely capitalistic point of view (which is that Google is doing the right thing), today’s market relies on more than just your big money customer base. Companies must look out for the public, and I find this especially true for Google. While we, the average searchers, aren’t the ones directly paying Google, we are the ones looking at the ads. We don’t hold the large wallets, but in our massive numbers, we hold far more power than the businesses Google is trying to cater to.

This move by Google confuses me. I really hope that this does not become a trend in Google’s business tactics; it could lead to the gradual diminishment of one of the largest internet companies we know.

Update: Google has retracted the statements of their employee.

Why is Blockbuster’s influence so huge all of a sudden?

Blockbuster LogoLast time I checked, everyone had crossed Blockbuster off of their list of companies that matter. I thought that it’s recent attempts to make a showing in the online movie rental sector was a joke. As of late, it seems that my assumptions were wrong because every tech blog has been pronouncing the victory of BluRay over HD-DVD as a result of Blockbuster’s recent announcement that it would be adoption BluRay over HD-DVD.

Don’t get me wrong, I was BluRay to win this standards war. I believe that Sony’s PS3, while the most expensive, is the best “next-gen” console. I believe that it is years ahead of the Wii and of the Xbox360. But that argument needs to be saved for another day. Apart from the console wars being waged right now, BluRay is just the better format.

Has everyone forgot about Netflix? The one company that has risen above just being a “geek’s only” secret you shared with only your best friends. It’s public and normal people use it without a problem. Just for a second, think about what would happen if Netflix adopted HD-DVD. Obviously, Blockbuster is the larger of the two companies, but it is also falling much faster than Netflix is rising. If there was a coalition of sorts made of up every movie rental company/organization against Blockbuster’s adoption of the format, it could mean the end of both BluRay and Blockbuster. Of course, this won’t happen, but the Netflix situation certainly could.

Just playing Devil’s Advocate here, but just think for a second about the contradiction of your past words and current assumptions. As usual, only time will tell…

Spiderman 3: A laughing matter

Spiderman 3 Poster

Talk about a letdown of massive proportions. Yesterday I went to go see Spiderman 3 with fairly high expectations. I figured that they were justified seeing as this currently rumored to be the highest costing movie ever (around $500 million). Boy was I wrong.

As the theater experience began, I had nothing to complain about; the previews were sweet! Pirate of the Caribbean 3, Shrek 3, and other great movies had me in a good mood. The beginning of the actual movie wasn’t bad either. A nice love scene and success for MJ opened very nicely. Then the depression hit. She was fired, Peter was being just stupid, and Harry was screwing everything up.

It was around this time that the writing (screenplay) went to hell. Parker got “emo”, and my friends and I couldn’t suppress our laughter at the absurdity of what we were seeing. Died black hair? Eyeliner? On the world’s best superhero? I don’t think so. Everything just seemed so very cliché; there was nothing new or unique to be seen. The whole idea of a villain coming back to life was overdone, and the “other worldly poison” moved too much like a high-tech Hexxus from Fern Gully (one of my favorite 90’s kids movies).

The abundance of Spiderman-swinging-around-the-city scenes were overbearing. The fight scenes, while sometimes cool, were either too short, long, or unrealistic. I understand that saying that a movie is “unrealistic” is fairly ridiculous to say, but to have someone’s face ground against the side of a moving train and be unscathed is even more ridiculous. While one might argue that Sony was trying to stay true to it’s key demographic (young boys), why the PG-13 rating?

While Spiderman 3 gave me a good laugh, lines like “wicked cool” made it impossible for me to take it seriously. My verdict? $500 million wasted.