Sunday, May 31, 2009

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN


NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE FOR THE SMITHSONIAN



When asked if I wanted to see Night at the Museum: Battle for the Smithsonian of course I said yes. The first Night at the Museum was such a pleasant surprise, it was funny, charming and incredibly heartfelt; plus I wasn’t paying which is always a plus (nudge-nudge, hint-hint, wink-wink ladies). This movie departs from its predecessor by being an action film first and then being about morals second. The original formula got messed up somewhere in the mixture but it works. There were funny moments, the kind where some parents let out their crazy laugh and those around them think, “Really? That’s the funniest thing you’ve ever heard huh? Kill me if I turn into that.” However, this is a film that has genuinely funny moments and overall great performances.The green screen shots hurt to watch at times and the CGI was poor in places where it didn’t need to be. This movie also has an unnecessary giant squid in it, whereas a superior movie that required a giant squid called The Watchmen didn’t! The acting was good for the most part, and the main villain was just silly and almost offensive. Bill Hader of SNL steals the show as Colonel Mustard, Amy Adams steals your heart with her hawtness and you’ll have fun spotting people you know from many a show, i.e. The Office and Reno 911.


Am I over analyzing a children’s/family movie? Yes, but someone has to call these hacks out! While it’s not as good as the first because it messes up its own great formula it will be worth a rental. Give it a try, your kids will love you for it and your wife/gf will ask if she’s as good looking as Amy Adams is in this flick, remember, it’s ok to lie.

Friday, May 29, 2009

UP - A BADASS MOVIE REVIEW



MEDIASAURUS REX SPEAKS:

UP

The less you know about UP going into it the better. This is pretty much how Pixar has worked its past several releases. When THE INCREDIBLES came out, I had no idea what I was getting into. I knew it was something about superheroes, and critics said it was good. UP has followed a similar pre-release gameplan. Their advertising blitz has been steady, but what you get has been limited to an old man, a house and an absurd number of balloons.

This is a film that studies humanity and several of its bittersweet corners. The key themes are in place; the need to love and be loved is the main one. Taking care of others and defending one's good name also figure deeply in this film.

UP feels so un-American at points that it could be a French film with all of its whimsy but without the ridiculous slapstick and gratuitous boob-shots. The idea of travelling in a house lifted by balloons is far from the American norm.

The last time I noticed Ed Asner he was a brute in Oliver Stone's JFK. He did show up as a voice in that BOONDOCKS cartoon, but in retrospect, that show was fluff. The voice of Ed Asner is used to excellent effect for Carl Fredrickson, the old man you know from the movie poster whose house gets lifted with balloons.

Carl Fredrickson is a man who has lived a full life and, most notably, has loved and lost. The passage of film that chronicles how he met Ellie as a child and later married and lived his dream-filled life with her is constructed with care and precision. The bulk of it is a montage of snatches of life sans dialogue, and levels of emotion are conveyed that hundreds of other more serious films compressed together couldn't muster. It is a beautiful thing. I haven't been moved by any film (let alone a computerized cartoon) in the ways that this film moved me since...I can't remember when.

When tragedy strikes, Carl doesn't become a ruined man, but he is paralyzed and wary about stepping out of his comfortable heartbrokenness into something new. Carl is living in the past when Russell, a pudgy single-digit-aged "wilderness explorer" shows up on his doorstep. At this point it is rather obvious that Carl's life is about to change. The world has passed Carl by, and his humble home is surrounded by the construction of bigger, better buildings. Carl knows change is closing in on him, and he is agitated.

With an old-folks home looming in his future, thing are looking bleak. An offense to Carl's property causes him to lash out and forces the film to "get on with the balloons" that we all know will lift him out of his current situation. Up until the moment of balloon liftoff, the film sticks pretty close to realism. But after that you will need to willingly suspend your disbelief. The rest of the film enters into a land where the rules of science, gravity, and human longevity are tested.

Another thing to note is the Pixar touch to the world created in UP. UP feels like a Pixar movie. Carl is a squared-off character with angles that defy nature, just as Russell is too round. Pixar has pounded out a niche in regards to how they present the world. Characters who aren't a part of the spotlight get the same general humanoid touch, and that touch is a blanding compared to the main characters who are less real but so much more compelling. That look is so definitely Pixar it is remarkable, and it travels from film to film. The animation is perfect, and the details are so human that one has to wonder how those planning meetings went when they were deciding how to strew various objects, items and life-forms throughout the film.

Overall, the world created in UP is a very real one. It speaks to several different seasons in real-life history (prohibition being one of them), and they are all loud, crystal clear, and misrepresented only slightly to remind you that you are in an animated film. In short, Pixar has outdone itself again. This film is a triumph and a step closer to the time of CGI mastery when we won't be able to tell if the images are real or pixilated.

Finally, I have really appreciated the lack of spoilers. The most key of characters and the force driving the third act of the plot have been relatively obscured in the trailers and by reviewers and fans. This really added to my enjoyment of the film, and it should stay that way. For me to launch into the "Howard Hughes" angle of this film would be to do it a disservice. UP is a fantastic film regardless, but it really helps to go into it cold and unknowing.

More of my writings can be found here , and at the Mediasaur main page.

MANLINESS and FANBOYS - A BADASS MOVIE REVIEW

So I have been on a manliness bender. It started with Rourke hammering his body into shape and ruling the world with THE WRESTLER. It looks like it is going to end with Stallone and his entire cast hammering their bodies into shape and blowing everything away in THE EXPENDABLES next year.


I have been considering Stallone of late. He currently has his ripped sinewy forearms on my desktop. As synchronicity would have it, several people mentioned Stallone's CLIFFHANGER to me last week. They all said it was a good film. I admitted that I hadn't seen it and got a rounding, "YOU SHOULD SEE IT" from all. So I loaded it onto the PSP and went to work. Right out of the gate I noticed my favorite horror-crossover actor Michael Rooker. Later on I noticed John Lithgow pushing an almost believable English accent. Overall, there is not a lot to say about this film other than it is a great romp in the snow. That's about it. I must also cite, however, that in the early 90s Stallone wasn't half as ripped as he is now. And I am in awe. He is the quintessence of manliness--behind Mickey Rourke, of course.


To counter the speedballing to the brain of manliness and gunfire, I then chose to watch FANBOYS. This is a film for those who know their Star Wars and maybe even some Star Trek pretty well. Dan Fogler steals the show as Hutch, the perpetually oversexed, one-testicled defender of all things Star Wars. The movie is a lot of fun. Of course it is cameo laden with Seth Rogan actually playing a double role, one of which is that of a Star Wars pimp(!). Danny Trejo also shows up as a doped out flat-tire fixer who refers to himself in third person. Kevin Smith is in there and so is William Shatner, Ray Parks and Carrie Fisher. This film is a collage of multiple movie references and quotes rolled up into one obnoxious road trip. The main plot point is that the group of SW nerds are going to Skywalker Ranch to steal a copy of THE PHANTOM MENACE before it comes out. The film might have limited appeal in regards to who is going to get all of the jokes, but it is whimsical and feels good. It is crude like fanboys are, and it never truly leaves the high school playpen. But this makes it light and delectable.


I still haven't seen DEATH SENTENCE, but I must. I recently learned I was four degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, and this is my destiny.


More of my musings can be found HERE. Furthermore, you can contact me here

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BACKDRAFT and the GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE

So as promised, I watched BACKDRAFT. This film has aged well in some ways and is still partially enjoyable. But for the most part, I don't care to see it ever again. Kurt Russell holds it down and actually acts. Ron Howard's creepy brother fits as a guy who works in a morgue. And Scott Helicopter Glenn's presence brings enough manliness to nullify the milquetoast femaleness demonstrated by that Baldwin boy. There isn't much to talk about in regards to this film. It is Hollywood big, and it is interesting to note that the captain from Firehouse 17 made the transfer to Tommy Gavin's firehouse on RESCUE ME. The film is plagued by this horrid music, though. Throughout the film I was thinking it was a Hootie and the Blowfish ripoff. Then I was thinking it was some bad Bruce Springsteen. It turned out to be Bruce Hornsby and the Range. Horrible. Bottom line: BACKDRAFT doesn't hold up over time. That thing is dated.

Still haven't made it back to MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS. . I want to, but after that firefighting female Baldwin movie, I decided to aim my sights on SHARKS IN VENICE starring a now corpulent Stephen Baldwin. Truth be told, I focused on that film long enough to generate a few conversations and watch a few youtube vids on the subject. I think I am done with killer sharks and Baldwins for the time being.

So I did the fanboy 180 and stepped away from testosterone, effects, and comic bookery and watched THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE with my girlfriend. I have to say that for an experienced director, Steven Soderbergh hasn't brought all of his skills to the table on this one. The big news is that THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE is starring Sasha Grey, a real porn star. Sasha isn't given much to work with. She is a call-girl with an understanding personal-trainer boyfriend. The film is ripe for levels of conflict that are only barely touched. The comparison of her prostitution to his the level of self-whoring that he must do to make it in the personal trainer business doesn't wash. The dialogue comes off perfectly, and the film is beautifully shot. But this film is just some unsatisfying speculation that refuses to hit the painful, abrasive notes of TRAFFIC or SEX LIES and VIDEOTAPE. This 77 minute film deals with superficial people, but in its presentation, the film itself is superficial. The viewer is left with too little to work with. We are left with a hollow film about hollow people. Perhaps, that is what Soderbergh wanted to do, but this film is far from whatever truth it needed to deliver. A new director could have hit the Hollywood scene with this film and great things would have been expected from them the future. However, Soderbergh seems to have done this film half-heartedly and while distracted. He is capable of better.

I should also cite that I took down Woody Allen's ZELIG recently too. I want so much to like this guy, but movies like this make me want to break his glasses on his face. Next up? I am thinking I need some Bacon in my life. Kevin Bacon to be exact, and his completely unsung DEATH SENTENCE.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

MEGA SHARK vs SCARFACE




Well, once again my master plan has been foiled. I wanted to write a review for MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS. I have a penchant for b-movies, and this one really fits the bill. This film isn't TROMA status, and it certainly doesn't have the gloss of effects of SNAKES ON A PLANE. But my MAIN problem with this film is that is it BORING. Friday night I tried to watch it and blacked out. Saturday I had it ripped down to my PSP and attempted to watch it in bed and woke up with my PSP upside down and drool coming out of my mouth. Sunday I scanned through all of the parts that I could barely remember and I felt that I was onto something when suddenly, I woke up Monday morning. I do plan on watching this thing all the way through, but I have lost a lot of interest in the subject since this past weekend.


My blogging plans for this week have been dashed at this point. However, I have been working on a blog that isn't directly a part of Mediasaurs or MYMAVRA that I need to hip you to. The blog in question is for JADA TOYS. If you don't know who they are, you need to take a stroll down the collectibles aisle in your local T.R.U. and look closely at the die-cast cars. There are several prominent companies that package and sell tricked-out toy cars, and JADA is one of them.


The product that initially got me fascinated with JADA was their interpretation of the "creampuff" 1963 Cadillac with the zebra interior from SCARFACE. If you know me at all, then you know that when I became an adult, I tried to put away childish things. Part of that process was the complete embrace of a film known as SCARFACE. But another thing about me, is that I still purchase and play with toys. This very Cadillac and the Scarface action figure were on the kitchen table this last weekend for all to see. Furthermore, I blogged about my love for the toy on their site.


I also have a love for the 1963 Lincoln Continental with the suicide doors. It has seen a lot of time in movies as well. Off the top of my head I can cite THE MATRIX and KALIFORNIA, but I know that there are a lot more. I have a story to tell about that car too, and I posted it at JADA as well.


I have a couple of other ridiculous car stories that will be posted up at Jada soon. I will backlink them to this page and to the Mediasaurs blog, and keep you in the loop. In the meantime, I plan on taking another run at the Shark movie and also at BACKDRAFT, which is a film I haven't seen in forever. Until then, feel free to hit me up in the Mediasaurs forums.


More of my musings can be found HERE. Furthermore, you can contact me at admailto:admin@mediasaurs.comcom

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

STAR TREK vs WOLVERINE - A DOUBLE BADASS MOVIE REVIEW


Initially I wanted to do a post where I compare WOLVERINE to the new STAR TREK movie. I thought that I could do a proper comparison and it would be smooth, simple and perhaps even insightful. They are films from two franchises with followings that want their beloved series done right.


However, after absorbing both films and taking in a lethal dose of media on both subjects, this won't be as easy as comparing apples and oranges. It would be more like apples and grapefruits.


In the spirit of efficiency, I am going to knock both of these out with a (fat) paragraph each.


The titles are linked to the Mediasaurs forums. They follow discussion on the films during their production all the way through to our current opinions.



This was a surprise. I was expecting some more X-MEN 3 trash, and what I got instead was a wonderful revenge story with a twist. The film is complex morally, but not complex a-la BATMAN. The truth lies in the fact that Wolverine gets exploited with his weaknesses. Yes, there are some pretty weak comic book lines like, "Look what the cat dragged in." But overall, this is a comic book movie with comic book physics and physiques. Hugh Jackman becomes Wolverine. He shows how it all started, and it works. There are other mutants throughout this film for varying amounts of time. It all works well as a solid set up for the first X-Men movie. I have to give a special nod to Liev Schreiber who becomes Sabertooth. Normally, Liev is some spineless guy caught in the machinery of some greater evil he can't control. As an actor, and as Sabertooth, Liev seems to have found his space. Seriously, Liev has been in a lot of movies, and he has never put down the menace, till now.



I hate JJ Abrahms. I don't get all of the hype about LOST, THE FRINGE or CLOVERFIELD. When I read awhile back that he wasn't even a Star Trek fan, I kissed this one right off. Well, I am here to eat my hat. This is a good movie. It too is an origin story, and it remains true to the personalities of the characters we all know from the original series. They are all tweaked slightly, and the effects are crisp and smooth, unlike any other Star Trek you have seen. It all feels new. This is, for the record, some of the most ridiculous sci-fi ever. Black holes apparently can let a lot more than light escape for example. DO you want to know what made Captain Kirk into the impulsive man we know from the series? Do you want to know the history behind Spock's inner-conflict/impulse-control issues? Do you want to hear an even more incomprehensible Chekov? All these things, and the quest for Uhura's first name make this film a wonderful experience. Oh, and Eric Bana as the Romulan Nero is some of the best casting I have seen in a Trek film, period. Abrahms delivers.Both films are worth your while.


Both will even be doper still with DVD extras in a few months.



More of my musings can be found HERE. Furthermore, you can contact me at admailto:admin@mediasaurs.com

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

THE MECHANIC, jury duty and other things - A BADASS MOVIE REVIEW



MEDIASAURUS REX SPEAKS
MAY 09, 2009

It has been a pretty brutal week. I got yanked into jury duty. The yank was a hard one because I spaced on jury duty the week before and I was dodging a bench warrant. Needless to say, I was juror #1 for five days.

In the end it was a hung jury. Thank God for the PSP. I played nonstop METAL SLUG and looked for homebrew cracks so that I can finally play ROBOTRON on the thing. I also consumed Bronson's THE MECHANIC with the sole idea of writing a review on it. The film is staggeringly meaningless however. I am simply at a loss for the notion that is driving the remake with Jason Statham. THE MECHANIC is a banal little film that never breaks the surface of originality.

It is always amusing to watch Charles Bronson give his dead-eyed stare to the world around him, but that is all he is good for. He has to ultra-pronounce his words because of his accent and frankly, that moustache is irritating.

Jan-Michael Vincent is in this film, and may have been the most handsome human being walking the earth at that time. It is fascinating to watch the ruggedness and all out manly pose of Bronson upstage the godlike good looks of Vincent. But seriously? The strange physical upstaging is all that really happens in this film.

THE MECHANIC is a mediocre '70s assassin film that doesn't need Hollywood to look back on it lovingly. THE MECHANIC needs to stay in the bargain bin with other forgotten half-stepping action films with over-acting and unsure plotting.

Whatever the case, I have a hung jury and a medicore film under my belt. I hope next week is better.

More of my musings can be found HERE. Furthermore, you can contact me at admailto:admin@mediasaurs.com

Saturday, May 9, 2009

TAKEN - A BADASS MOVIE REVIEW


It has been a busy week at Mediasaurs.com. Jury duty killed a lot of productivity around here. We will be back on track shortly though.
-Mediasaurus Rex

Thursday, May 7, 2009

WE GOT PLAGIARIZED!


Yes we did.

I was checking Mediasaur consistency in Google the other day and came across 2 sites that have lifted their stuff directly from the Mediasaurs blog. One has since been taken down (their domain is for sale) but the other is still up.

Here is the original post that I put up in the forums:

SIMPLY AMAZED BUT MAD

I can't believe these fricks have actually stolen my blog and posted it as their own. Suggestions for how to go to war? http://brad.noomsog.biz/category/video-games/ Here is another one. Different blog, same method: http://monnamos.co.cc/2009/04/01/the-all-internet-takedown/ Amazing.

You might want to follow that forum, because the plagiarizer himself showed up in the forums to discuss the situation: http://mediasaurs.com/FORUM/FORUM/FORUM2/viewtopic.php?t=466

Whatever the case, I have been on his service provider. It is a matter of time before he pulls that stuff down.


Yes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but this guy ran his stuff through a translator that really messed stuff up.

One more time for the record (and the Google crawler)

THERE IS NOTHING ORIGINAL AT THIS SITE:
http://brad.noomsog.biz/category/video-games/



I'll keep you posted.

-Mediasaurus Rex

PS. I have watched Bronson's MECHANIC and have no idea why they want to remake it starring Jason Statham.