Ho, Ho, Ho, or No, No, No?







Ahh Thanksgiving a time for turkey, family, friends, and Christmas movies?  It seems with each passing year the Christmas spirit starts earlier and this season is no exception.  This holiday week, the new movie Arthur Christmas has released and I had the privilege of seeing it today with my friends.  You may now be asking yourself, “So was the movie worth it, or is it just another ridiculous animated adventure equal to Shreks 3 and 4?”  The answer to that question lies ahead so read on to find out more.


Arthur Christmas, for those of you who don’t know, is a spin on the classic topic of Santa Clause’s annual ride around the world.  In this world toys are delivered not by magic sleighs pulled by eight reindeer, but instead by a high tech vehicle manned by an army of elves.   In a brilliant series of exciting flashes, acrobatic spy moves, and some hilarious problems that elves can run into the journey comes to an end.  At least that is what they think, as later on a missing present is found, which indicates a child has been missed.  Arthur (James McAvoy) the youngest son of Santa (Jim Broadbent) decides that no child should be left behind on Christmas and decides to keep up the good reputation of Santa Clause by delivering the present himself.  Accompanied by a wrapping frenzy elf named Bryony (Ashley Jensenand his grandfather Grand Santa (Bill Nigh) the trio undertake a quest to finish the mission Santa left unfinished.


This adventure turned out to be a lot more entertaining and complex than I had imagined, most of the surprises being a warm welcome.  The voice work fits in well for a kids movie with the elves having a variety of high pitched, nasal voices that fit their design well.  McAvoy’s proper English accent and wide range of pitches were just the right touch to make the clumsy character of Arthur entertaining on so many levels. Hugh Laurie as well plays his part well as the brother Steve and managed to place his can’t be bothered, get the job done House attitude into this character minus the pill popping addiction.  The variety of voices the actors were able to provide really opened up a lot of jokes and situations for this movie to exploit, many of which will make kids laugh with glee.


However, the voice work wasn’t the only positive quality this movie had to offer.  The CGI work Sony pictures presented flowed smoothly, only occasionally lost in some glitchy, chaotic, and fast camera work that went along with the high-speed scenes.  The various situations the trio runs into across the country are also surprisingly entertaining, though predictable to some degree, and involve some rather clever solutions to getting out of the jam.  As for dialog, well Arthur Christmas delivers to a variety of ages with their jokes.  Grand Santa, Santa, and Steve’s lines are geared for older audience members, while Arthur, Bryony and the other elves have dialog that are more for the younger audience members.  Most of the humor I thought was clever, however some were stereotypical of the Christmas season and stale.  Even cleverer however was there integration of both past and present into their story and help in the development of their characters and symbolize the how reliant on technology the world has become.  The biggest positive for me however, was the moral behind the story that emphasizes the belief in the impossible and the lesson of never giving up hope.  Arthur’s feeling about Christmas and the nature of being Santa are all about these two characteristics and seemed to be contagious as I began to rekindle my belief in the legend of Santa.


The weak spots start with the unbalanced humor.  Although there are various age groups targeted by the jokes in this movie, there is a huge shift to little kids to enjoy.  A few of the scenes are cheesy and a little corny, which may make some roll their eyes.  A couple of the jokes get a little stale as well and like most comedies you can get hit in the head with the same type of joke over and over again until you’re ready to throw up.  The last weakness is probably the predictability of the storyline, which can make the movie a little boring for those looking for surprises, though in a kid’s movie you don’t expect many surprises.


Overall Arthur Christmas is cute, funny, and a jolly good adventure for the whole family.  Colorful worlds, zany antics, and heartwarming love fill this movie to the brim and can make anyone feel good.  I believe Sony has set the bar high for the Christmas movie season and I strongly urge everyone to go and enjoy the movie in theaters.  I enjoyed the film in 2-D, but I’m sure there are lots of 3-D fun to be had as well.  My score for this movie is a solid 8.0, for being clever, fun, and well-developed comedy.  So grab your holiday spirit boys and girls and ride on over to watch Arthur Christmas today.

Breaking Dawn or Breaking Wind?








It’s a rainy dreary day out in the woods and thunder roars across the sky as a young man rushes out of the house in anger.  As he runs into the storm, he tears off shirt and shows off his six-pack abs before unleashing his rage as he transforms into wolf and rushes into the forest.  No my friends this is not something from my imagination or something that happened in real life, this is the opening scene of the latest Twilight installment Breaking Dawn.  The moment the movie showed this scene, a large number of giddy screams, whispered comments of desire, and an occasional howl at the abs.  I immediately feared that I was subjecting myself to another mindless, bad acting, and teenage drama filled love story where the abs did more acting than the actual person.  Now I know that any Twilight fan is going to still see the movie and there is a good chance you are going to love it.  However I am still going to do my best to enlighten both fans and non-fans of the series and shed some light on this weekend’s sure to be box office hit.  So put on a sweater, cuddle up on the couch, and read on if you wish to learn more.


As I’m sure you have seen on TV, Breaking Dawn centers on the story of Bella and Edward as they take the next step in their relationship, getting married.  After a drama filled wedding and a honeymoon filled with sexual scenes, Bella finds herself pregnant with some type of unknown creature.  Throughout the rest of the movie Bella’s life becomes more in danger and only her family and friends (namely Jacob) can help her attempt to get everything she wants.


Where do I start on this review?  I guess the thing I should start out saying is that this movie is not as bad as I excepted to be, though I also don’t think it’s the best movie of the year as many advertisements and fans are saying.  The acting in this movie is about the same as in the other installments mediocre at best. Robert Pattinson plays his usual sulking role really pouting more than speaking.  The only thing that seems to bring out any emotion is Ms. Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart).  Stewart hasn’t deviated much from her role in the previous installments until the pregnancy scenes where her role focuses on sounding weak, getting fat, and rubbing her gut.  The rest of the vampires get their limited time on screen, Rosalie (Nikki Reed) and Emmett (Kellan Lutz) and getting the more screen time than expected.  These two, along with the rest of the Cullen crew still act to their usual style, Ashley Greene (Alice) being my favorite.  Perhaps the acting that took me by surprise the most was Taylor Lautner who finally brought his acting talents back onto the screen.  That’s right ladies, Lautner’s abs are stored for the winter with the exception of the opening scene and his acting has never been better.  Unlike the book, the movie team decided to skip the whiney baby that Jacob was and head to the renegade rogue with a heart of gold.  His supporting wolf crew as well does a decent job, though the rest of the tribe decides to go shirtless and show off their abs in various scenes of the movie.


So besides the acting what else was decent about this movie?  Well for me it was nice to see the beautiful vampire girls get some screen time for once, though Pattinson and Lautner quickly worm there way back on the center screen.  Past the pretty faces some of the dialog is also witty, especially Bella’s fathers lines that had me chuckling or laughing at various times in the movie.  The wolf tribe as well adds some charisma to the movie, though a few of the scenes were overdramatic, glitchy, or just excuses to see Native American abs.  I also have to applaud some of the CGI work in the movie as the team has done a nice job bringing the wolves to life as well as showing off some transformations to the characters, however it is nowhere close to the stuff we have seen in Transformers.  Most of the movie was also filmed quite well as they captured the beautiful scenery portrayed in the movie.


Despite the number of decent things however, this movie was also filled with flaws, at least in my opinion.  Number one was again most of the acting was the same and didn’t really impress me since I want sustenance behind the characters instead of looks.  Fault number two lies in the dialog, which was very cheesy and teenybopper in nature.  Although it was meant to be romantic and sweet, I found the dialog to be very shallow, boring at times, and eye rolling, though many of the teenage girls in the audience were in love with every breath the characters spoke.  Those looking for an action path wolf vs. vampire fight will be disappointed, as the battle in this movie is much shorter than the one in its predecessor. Most of the fight is loss due to glitchy camera work, while the brief scenes we can actually follow involve nothing more than CGI jumps, an occasional lucky punch, and a few gnashing teeth.  Now yes Twilight is certainly not about action, but still give the boyfriend who were dragged to the theater something to enjoy in this film.  Regardless the last weaknesses for me were the scenes of sex and birth for this movie, which were a little more graphic than I was expecting and a little overdone as well.


To sum up this movie it is not as bad as many may have you to believe, but again it’s not the best movie to ever grace Hollywood.  The acting has improved a little, some of the dialog is fun, and the CGI is done well.  However, the teeny bopper romance is still only somewhat entertaining and is still drowned out by predictable love scenes, pretty faces, and of shallow love lines.  Fans of the series will most likely say this is the best of the series as it does have the most strengths of the series.  As a movie however, this movie is probably about a 6.0 overall.  So until next time friends have fun and enjoy the movies and I’ll be reporting next time on Happy Feet Two.

Is This Film As Godly as The Title






Okay so let’s face it when we saw the trailer for Immortals back in mid summer most of us were thinking one thing, that this was going to be 300 part 2.  The various scenes of armor clad Greeks, slow motion sword slashing, dramatic leaps in the air, and other familiar shots filled the trailer and painted the picture that the next guy action movie has arrived.  Today on 11/11/11, it is time for Tarsem Singh to show off his take on the warrior slashing goodness.  So does this movie deliver or have the trailers once again blown the action movie out of proportion?  Read on to find out.


In case you haven’t seen the trailer, Immortals tells the tale of Theseus (Henry Cavill) a mortal in ancient Greece who lives in a cliff dwelling town.  Although Theseus has mad skills he is seen as an outcast only having friends in his mother and mentor.  However, King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) has decided to wage war on Zeus (Luke Evansa) and the other gods who dwell in the heavens by finding the oracle (Freida Pinto) who can lead him to the weapon of ultimate power.


Yes the trailer makes the adventure sound action packed and full of excitement, but sadly this movie did not deliver for me.  Instead of seeing Theseus and his band take down Hyperion forces left and right, this movie instead focused on more conversations, character development, and special effects.  From the very beginning the actions scenes come in bite sized portions and immediately followed by prolonged spurts of dialog that has some depth to it.  With the exception of the last scene, most of the big fights were hyped up, but ended within seconds usually in cheap manner that made the bad guys seem incredibly lame.  Unfortunately most of the dialog repetitive and beats the audience over the head with the issues that are present in the movie, only providing slight amounts of information that advance the story.  Cavil and Pinto do well n delivering their dialog and perhaps the best actors of the very diverse cast.  Rourke however, did not show much diversity in acting as his character was evidently designed to be monotone and have a lack of emotion behind his lines.  As a result, Hyperion’s scariness really is absent in the movie and I felt he was just a depressed mongrel with a bad sense of hygiene. The gods as well had some flair to their characters and for once actually did something in a movie other than complain or sit on their throne.  These heavenly immortals have got some moves, some emotional drive behind their dialog and of course some looks.

Here is where I will tell you that Immortals has decided to trade action for abs as this movie is filled with well-defined abdominal muscles.  Ladies will not be disappointed as most of the male characters strut around the barren landscape of Greece sporting their eight backs without a shiver or a sweat.  I can’t tell which of the abs is real and which are airbrushed, but regardless ladies will settle for these abs for a week until the next Twilight movie comes out.  Fellows however are not totally left out of this clip as both the oracle and Athena (Isabel Lucas) provide the guys with a lovely eye treat and some killer moves as well.

The actors aren’t the only easy things on the eyes though as the visual effects for this movie are quite impressive.  Whether its arrows of light flying through the air, waves crashing onto boats, or the warriors slashing and stabbing their enemies the graphics are decent.  A smooth camera work keeps the audience tuned into most of the action scenes, only becoming spastic during large crowd scenes.  Fans of the slow motion kills that 300 made famous will be happy as the prolonged hang time jumps, graphic decapitations, and over exaggerated ducks are crammed into the movie.  As for me though, seeing slow motion jumps and fake blood flying got a little stale and I was looking for the skills and moves that were seen in 300.  Luckily I got my wish in about the last twenty minutes of the film, where fast and slow was blended quite well to create an exciting blend of action involving all the characters. 


To wrap this up, Immortals is 1 part action and 2 parts conversational piece.  Fans looking for the constant battles and adrenaline pumping howls will be disappointed for most of the movie.  Yes the CGI is still decent, and the bodies of the Greeks are a nice distraction for boys and girls alike, but its just not enough to satisfy the action lover’s dreams.  If you really have to see this movie, then go for the final battle otherwise hold out for Netflix/Red Box and see something else instead.  Overall I’ll give this movie a 6.0-6.5.  So until next time my friends enjoy the movies and keep on checking back for more reviews.