PIRANHA 2010

Wow, it’s been a while and been very quiet on the movie front lately. Seems like the crop of movies this year are very lame, and this one falls right in line. Being a fan of the original Roger Corman camp classic Piranha, I was curious about this one, but not expecting much after the trailers looked absolutely terrible.

The film has a few really good cast members, Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas, Back to the Future trilogy) and Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible). For those expecting Elisabeth Shue in a bikini….in 3D (O.T. Ross) that scene never comes. However this film seems to put nudity above everything else in the film, even above story and effects. The 3D in this movie is so lame it looks as if high school students did this after a few beers on a single Friday night. How they got big name actors to jump in this one, who knows. Especially Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, The Goodbye Girl), who seems to be reprising his role of Matt Hopper, even though his last name is different in the credits, does this guy just need a paycheck or what?

Well, my advice for this movie, for the same money you can go get a 6 pack of beer and rent Girls Gone Wild. This movie is not even one of those guilty  horror movie pleasures like Anaconda or Lake Placid. To me this film was lame on every front…..I want my money back!

Advertisements

Shrek: Happily Ever After

Well, just for the simple fact that there was nothing else starting this past weekend, Shrek was the movie to see. I did have some interest in the movie having loved the first two, but the third film made me skeptical about seeing this one. The basic plot for this film is that Shrek wants to be the Ogre he used to be, just for a day. Of  course signing the deal with Rumpelstiltskin, he failed to read the fine print of the contract. Shrek has to give up a day in exchange, and that days happens to alter the course of history and Shrek needs to find his way back.

As with the first two ,movies, Eddie Murphy (Beverley Hills Cop, The Golden Child) is the highlight. Donkey has some great lines and some very funny scenes, especially meeting Shrek and not knowing who he is because of the alternate reality. Mike Meyers (Wayne’s World) and Cameron Diaz (There’s Something About Mary, Vanilla Sky) are of course Shrek and Fiona and Antonio Banderas (The Mask of Zorro) makes a return as Puss in Boots.

Of course since the film is out in 3D, we had to see that version of Shrek: Happily Ever After. The 3D effects I could really take it or leave it, really nothing spectacular. The movie to me comes in behind the first two Shrek films, but way ahead of the third which was pretty awful. It is a fun film that adults as well as kids will enjoy. Worth checking out during a matinée.

Clash of the Titans (2010)

The new movie out for the weekend is Clash of the Titans. It is out there for 3D viewing as well, which I opted for. This is a remake of the classic Ray Harryhausen version. Everyone probably knows a little about the story through mythology in school, or seeing the 1981 version of this film. So I won’t spend time, or waste my precious typing skills telling you the plot.

The film stars Sam Worthington who must be the new action star as he was in both Terminator Salvation and Avatar last year. Liam Neeson (Taken, Schindler’s List) stars as Zeus and Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, Schindler’s List) as Hades. You would think with all these Oscar nominated actors there might be a decent performance, but everyone is just going through the motions in this one.

Well, about the movie as a whole. First off, let me say, seeing this in 3D was not that big of deal. I always thought that 3D was a pretty neat novelty but Avatar has set the bar so high as to what good 3D should be, “Titans” pretty much sucked with their 3D. What took James Cameron years to do with 3D, “Titans” tried to do in 8 weeks, and it shows. Not that any movie can touch Avatar with 3D, but since Avatar, to me there is good 3D and bad 3D. 3D is no longer a gimmick. 3D is here to stay it seems, so please Hollywood, do it right and don’t just churn out junk like the preview of Piranha I saw.

This film never really develops into much of anything. It seems to be in a hurry just to get to the next battle scene. So much of a hurry it doesn’t give any character a chance to develop and no character is ever given a chance to do anything other than swing a sword at a CGI creature. Even with todays special effects, the world created in “Titans” is not nearly as magical as the world created in the original. So, you can imagine what I recommend, go rent the original and enjoy Harry Hamlin, Burgess Meredith, Maggie Smith, Laurence Olivier and of course the special effects of the great Ray Harryhausen, which is now available on bluray. Save your ticket money on this one.

Avatar

Finally, AVATAR! Can’t believe that James Cameron finally has a new film out after a long wait from his last movie….that  little film called Titanic. The Director of True Lies and Aliens delivers again. The film follows an ex-marine, Jake Sully, who is wheelchair bound, to Pandora. His twin brother was recently killed and Jake has the same DNA, a necessity to take over his brothers Avatar. The Avatars are used by the marines to attempt to infiltrate the local natives, the Navi. The Navi are living directly above a large deposit of valuable minerals, and Jake’s job is to try to get the Navi to relocate in order to mine the region. Of course once Jake has infiltrated the Navi, he finds himself more a part of the Navi than he realizes.

As far as performances, to me there were no really outstanding performances. Everyone in the film was solid, but nothing that is going to stir up the Academy for an Oscar. Jake Sully is played by Sam Worthington who was in this past summers Terminator Salvation. Sigourney Weaver (Aliens, Death and the Maiden) is once again teamed up with Cameron as Dr. Grace Augustine, the local scientist and expert on the Navi culture. Giovanni Ribisi (Saving Private Ryan) plays company man Parker, and Stephen Lang (Gettysburg, Public Enemies) is the macho-over-the-top kill the natives colonel.

On to the special effects, and yes they were special! My opinion, Oscars all around for the special effects team. The entire film is visually stunning and well worth catching on the big screen. In fact it is a must to catch on the big screen, with such sweeping shots, and panoramic scenes, definitely a must! I might also mention the 3D, well worth seeing it in 3D as well. It never is distracting to the movie, it enhances the film and does not take away at all. It was nice to see this element used in this way, and not have the cheap 3D gags throughout, like a sword being pointed at you or items coming at you for no other reason than to remind you that you are watching a 3D movie.

To sum it all up, this is worth going to see for sure. It has already been nominated for Best Picture at the Golden Globes. Even though I think this is a must see on the big screen, by no means is it a fresh storyline, which I really wanted from Cameron. The movie really played out like Dances With Wolves or The Emerald Forest. And I was even reminded of other Cameron films, the Ribisi character Parker seemed like a company man right out of Aliens with the same agenda. The military ships even reminded me of the landing craft in Aliens. Ok, even the score done by James Horner was even a bit too much reminiscent of Titanic. So by no means is this film perfect in my eyes. It is jawdropping beautiful and it is something like you have never seen before. The only thing I can compare it to is seeing Star Wars for the first time as a boy in grade school. The imagination and creativity put into this film is something to see for sure!

House of Wax (1953)

house-of-wax Originally shot for 3-D, this one still works as one of the classic horror movies. Professor Henry Jarrod is betrayed, and is burned badly and thought to be dead. After disposing of his partner, Jarrod decides to reopen his House of Wax paying tribute to the macabre, making his Palace of Wax a true House of horrors.

The great Vincent Price (The Pit and the Pendulum) plays Henry Jarrod. He plays a good portion of the film with very heavy make-up, and in my opinion, maybe a little too much make-up. There is just something about his performances that are naturally creepy, down to the tone of voice and the way each line is delivered. Also if you think you recognize Igor, yes, that is Charles Bronson (Death Wish), even though he is credited under his real name Charles Buchinsky.

If you are in the mood for classic horror with style, you should watch this one. Since it was originally a 3-D movie, there a few shots that would not make it into a normal film, or at least be cut back. Still, this movie is all classic horror movie fun. Throw it on late at night with a big bowl of popcorn.

UP (Spoiler Free)

51b8rCIj9WL._SL500_AA280_

It is too bad that the Academy doesn’t consider animated films for Best Picture Oscars, because this is the best film I have yet to see all year long. I know that Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Best Picture, but that was before the animation category. This film really contains every emotion and has many laugh out loud moments. My wife was about to cry she was laughing so hard!

Not going to give away the plot here, everyone needs to go see this and enjoy the same surprises that I did. (And there are some funny ones.) Pixar (Toy Story, Finding Nemo) is absolutely the best and everything they put out is incredible. (Incredibles..no pun intended.) The story is very good and the script  is intelligent enough to hold any adults interest. The animation itself is wonderful, and Pixars attention to detail ads so much to the film. For instance the man’s hearing aid, the walking stick with the tennis balls on the end of it and many other things. The dogs are hilarious with their behavior and dialog as well. 

I may have to see this one again. I do recommend this in 3D if you can see it at one of the screens that is offering it….it is worth the extra 2 bucks!