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!

The Fog

1-1From the  John Carpenter, the director of Halloween, and a lot of the same cast and crew, The Fog Is a decent ghost story worth watching. The town of Antonio Bay is celebrating it’s anniversary by honoring its original founders, but it seems that there is some controversy about how the town was founded when Father Malone discovers a diary of his grandfather, one of the founding fathers of the town. Strange things start happening in Antonio Bay as the anniversary nears.

The film has a good cast. Just as Donald Pleasance (Dracula) was the heavyweight anchor in Halloween, Hal Holbrook (Midway, Into the Wild) does a great job of adding instant credibility to the film and acts as a story teller as he reveals the diary that he has found. By  far the best performance in the movie. Also following their Halloween appearances is Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies, A Fish Called Wanda) and Nancy Loomis (Assault on Precinct 13).  Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing) has a similar role as Hal Holbrook, as he is revealing history, she reveals what is happening in the town with the fog from her vantage point of the local radio station that is run out of a converted lighthouse. Look for cameos from John Houseman, Janet Leigh (Psycho) and director John Carpenter himself.

To me, this film borrows a lot from Halloween, not only with some of the same actors, but in direction and music as well. It is maybe a touch more violent than Halloween, but like Halloween, far from a slasher film by any means. This film still works for me, and actually has a good ghost story behind everything. This is one of my favorites to watch during Halloween season, just a simple, good, creepy movie!