Toadsoup

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More hand drawn robots and dinosaurs than yesterday.

Here Come da Judge! – “The Judge”

October 11th, 2014

I went into the movie theater to watch “The Judge” knowing very little about the movie.  My entire knowledge was based on two factoids.

Here Come the Judge!

Here Come the Judge!

1) The movie is titled “The Judge”

2) The movie has Robert Downey Jr in it.

I just found out now that I went to see it on opening night.  At the time I didn’t know if I was in for a comedy or a space thriller.  Was this a sci-fi Judge Dredd type movie?  I honestly had no clue.  I didn’t even have time to watch the trailer beforehand.  I was on the road and then right to the theater after getting into town.  Needless to say, I knew less than John Snow.

This movie was delightful to watch.  If you want to watch a delightful movie then this is one.  It is a movie that makes you think as the story unfolds and in a very pleasant way.  The pacing of the movie flows out in a way that doesn’t make you feel stupid for not following elaborate steps and gaps.  At the same time it isn’t to far in the other direction cramming every detail down your throat until you barf.

I just went back and watched the trailer for this one.  There is no way I would have gone to the movie if I would have watched that first.  So much of the plot is spoiled from that two minute trailer.  There are moments and scenes that take so much buildup and really pack an emotional punch.  When watched without any sort of context they simply give away key pieces of the plotline without adding any value.  I don’t know if I’m fully committed to this idea yet or not, but I have a secondhand source who tells me the internet (aka reddit) tells her to NOT watch trailers before going into movies.  With this one, not watching that trailer first led us into a home run movie.  Even though the trailer looks like a total waste of time and money.

Writing reviews or reflections or whatever these posts are is such a weird feeling.  I want to tell you about the movie without telling you spoilers and usually I just say ‘hey – spoilers’ or you otherwise can assume that you will see spoilers in 99.9% of my posts.  This one is one of the .1% of the posts where I don’t want to give spoilers.  In fact, don’t even watch the trailer or read anymore about it.  The only thing you are permitted to read about this movie is the showtime.

Go!

Preferably know nothing going into it.

Here Come Da Judge!

Here Come Da Judge!

I am quite certain that if I had information going into this movie, I would not have liked it as much as I did.  Although some part of me was secretly hoping for some kind of silly action movie along the lines of ‘Judge Dredd‘ or ‘Terminator 2 – Judgement Day

I don’t think that I saw a single reference to cyborgs or androids or robots anywhere in this flick.  Seriously, what gives?

It was nice to see a character somewhat more human than Tony Stark or Sherlock Homes coming from Robert Downey Jr.  In fact even Billy Bob Thorton broke away from his usual typecast role and actually played someone who wasn’t a total creeper.  That was weird.

But he nailed it.

Brother Bear 2 – erm… I mean Pixar’s Brave

August 4th, 2012

At this point in my life, do I really even need to add spoiler alerts about movie posts?  Absolutely every single post about movies contains spoilers.  This post is no exception.  In fact, the title alone is the tightly kept secret of this movie.

Who was the Comic Relief Character?

Watching the previews or other promotional goods, you would have no idea that in this movie people turn into bears.  That was the spoiler.  I hope you already watched it, because that is a pretty big turn of events.  You can no longer get the joy and the surprise of that.  I would say sorry, but you had your chance.

This movie is a pretty good time.  It can be a bit annoying because everybody (other than our hero and her mom) is striving for the ‘yuk-yuks.’  Every single male character in this movie acts wildly as a comic relief.  I guess nobody at pixar understood that in order for a comic relief to work, it has to be relieving you from something.

We have three comic relief troublesome sons, the comic relief king, the three comic relief clan lords, the three comic relief inept sons of the three comic relief clan lords, and who knows how many idiotic comic relief clansmen and villagers there were.  (I’m sure there is some nerd at pixar who knows, but I don’t have his number)

Seriously!  Can we just have a couple of minutes here where it wouldn’t be appropriate to do all the sounds effects with a slide whistle and a “whoop woop woop woop woop!”   A little bit of drama or tension please?

The answer is no.  Depending on who is in the shot.  If it consists of Merida and/or her mother the queen, then maybe.  For a very short period of time until somebody busts in screaming “Waka-Waka!” or something explodes.

The movie is fun, the only problem is that it is trying to be funny in every single frame.  While it bears resemblance to Brother Bear (haha, see what I did there?) it is actually a much better flick.  I planned on making some jokes about how it secretly made people at Pixar mad that Brother Bear was so bad that they wanted to do the same movie.  With one small change, making it good.

It was nice that this animated movie using Scottish accents was actually taking place in the Highlands.

It is worth seeing, but not remembering.

Has Anybody found Bobby Fischer?

August 10th, 2011

The movie Searching for Bobby Fischer came out in 1993. Up until a couple weeks ago, I was didn’t know there were any movies focused on chess.  More specifically I was unaware there were any GOOD movies about chess.  I’m sure there are  a ton of bad movies revolving around the game or featuring it in some prominent way.

Searching For Bobby  FischerThe story follows a young Josh Waitzkin (Played by Max Pomeranc) as he learns that baseball is boring and chess is where it’s at.  It also helps that Josh is some kind of super child chess prodigy.  His dad is very excited about being overbearing and forcing him into chess tournaments and chess academy training.

The teacher from the chess academy, Bruce, is a real stick in the mud high-horser who takes the fun out of playing.  While it makes Josh a better player, it nearly breaks him.  Fortunately Josh has been taught kung-fu street chess by Morpheus Laurence Fishburne’s character Vinnie.

The mix of highbrow classical chess and the in-your-face street chess are constantly at odds throughout the whole movie.  But in the end, they work together to help Josh bowl through his ongoing rival’s moves.  His rival reminds me of the kid from the movie ‘Wizard’ with the Nintendo Powerglove, a total pa-toot.

Long story short, this was a decent movie, much better than the title makes it sound.   I wouldn’t rush out to watch it unless you are a huge chess fan or like child prodigy stories, but I would add it to your queue.

 

I have heard you are a man of True Grit

January 27th, 2011

TTrue Grit 2010 Remakehe last movie that I have gone out to see is the new version of ‘True Grit’.  I have only seen part of the original version, and that was when I was around 9 years old.  My family had rented it for my grandpa to watch one day.  He was happy to watch the movie as it was one of his favorites.  I didn’t have an attention span then (not sure if I do now either) and went off to play with the Cowboys and Indians toys they had.

Because of the nostalgia from the idea of the old movie (that I hadn’t seen), I was not excited to see the new version that ruined the memories.  What if I didn’t like the movie or what if they did a bad job?  My better half on the other hand was thrilled to go.

In short, the movie was awesome!  I really liked the characters and the progression.  After seeing True Grit I tried to find a copy of the old version for comparison.  It turns out that a remake of an old movie spawns a lot of people with the same idea.  All of the rental stores had it checked out, netflix didn’t have it on demand, and it wasn’t carried in the box stores.

While I stopped short of handing over $20 to buy it online, I did run into an old 5 minute teaser video on it.  Most of the lines were taken verbatim and it looks like the new version was very true to the older one.  True Grit Rooster and Mattie

Of course being made by the Coen brothers, they had a lot of blood splats and went all out developing characters.  The ending of true grit was a big let down.  Showing Mattie as an old woman and having Rooster become a circus performer added nothing to the movie and killed the emotional bond between them and the audience.  Other than the lackluster ending, the show was fantastic.

Damon & Bridges did well playing characters outside of their usual or signature roles.

Inception – Alternate title “50 Reasons to Off Yourself in 142 Minutes or less”

August 25th, 2010

Inception: an okay movie that everyone loves because they have been to the movies in the last year.

I went into inception hearing a couple reports that it was a good movie and involved manipulating dreams.  Other than that I wasn’t sure quite what was going on.  Looking back, I’m still not quite sure I know what’s going on.

The ‘exciting twist ending’ was quite obvious early on, although the exact specifics were somewhat muddled.  Okay, so he’s still dreaming, that part was apparent.  Is the whole movie Cobb’s wife coming in and performing the inception?  Or is it more straightforward – he needs to off himself?

Am I dreaming or does it just keep spinning?I thought the movie was a fun concept, similar to, but not replicating the matrix.  There has been a number of Inception/Matrix comparisons, and with good reason.  The people were mentally plugged in to some other world.  In order to unplug or be unplugged, you have to die.  Let’s not kid ourselves here.  Anyone who claims Inception and the Matrix are not the same movie, has not seen Inception and the Matrix.

All told, I think the movie was okay.  I am not in a hurry to see it again, but I won’t be screaming for the remote when it plays on cable tv.  Until the commercials come on that is.  Good enough to watch once, but not worth the hype it has generated.

Toy Story 3 – You can’t top pigs with pigs

July 24th, 2010

It has taken a hundred years, but Pixar has released Toy Story 3 into the world.  I guess they wanted to finish their good movies before going back to the well to dredge up more of the same thing.

Toy Story 3 - Animation by PixarThis movie was a cross between ‘a predictable boring story’ and ‘a waste of time.’  Pixar made no secret that the film was about what happens to toys when you go off to college.  They are stuffed in the attic, the garbage, or the goodwill box.  Sure it’s sad and nostalgic to dispose of all your old trash and I’m sure if you were an atomic living toy it would be even more depressing.  Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying “I can’t enjoy Futurama because one of the main characters is a cyclops” and I’m also not saying “I can’t enjoy Toy Story because Toys are inanimate objects.”  I can and will buy into the world that any film maker wants to force feed me. (That might be a lie)

The problem is the progression of the film is crystal clear.  You know exactly where the film will be taking you five minutes from now.  Then it takes ten minutes getting there.  The closest thing to an unforeseen event was when the pizza planet aliens came down with the claw.  Is that really hard to imagine happening?

After producing the film the three little pigs in 1933, Walt Disney was pressured to make a sequel due to the success of it.  Walt new that you wouldn’t be able to impress the public to the same level with the same thing.  To quote him on the topic, “You can’t top pigs with pigs.”

That’s exactly what Pixar is trying to do here.

Clearly I should be writing my reviews closer to when I actually watch the movie in question.  I was much more upset at the movie when it was fresh in my mind.

It was cool to see the Totoro in the film.

How NOT to train your dragon!

April 19th, 2010

How should you train a dragon?  Apparently you shoot it down from the sky into a crater.  Then you feed it fish until it likes you.  As long as you don’t get eaten that is.

This movie is the latest flick from Dreamworks Animation and it was one that made me say, “Okay I’m buying that when it comes out on DVD!”  This statement is usually reserved for films from studios with names like ‘Pixar’ and ‘Universal’.

It’s weird, these dreamwork folks.  Their movies are either hit or miss.  It’s almost as if there are two different studios working to crank out the 3D animated films.  One half produces Kung Fu Panda, Chicken Run and How to Train your dragon, while the other half is silently cranking out films like Monsters Vs Aliens, Shark Tale, and Over the Hedge.  It doesn’t look like there is an end in sight either if ‘Over the Hedge’ can return over three times the $100,000,000 spent to make it.

Now this has little to do with the actual film of Vikings and Dragons, so I’ll get back to that.  Here is the basic synopsis of the movie…

“A Viking teenager named Hiccup lives on the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life. The teen’s smarts and offbeat sense of humor don’t sit too well with his tribe or its chief… who just happens to be Hiccup’s father. However, when Hiccup is included in Dragon Training with the other Viking teens, he sees his chance to prove he has what it takes to be a fighter. But when he encounters (and ultimately befriends) an injured dragon, his world is flipped upside down, and what started out as Hiccup’s one shot to prove himself turns into an opportunity to set a new course for the future of the entire tribe.”

This movie is great!  It did have me wondering at points where exactly the audience was being led.  At times I was having a little trouble trying to figure out where the movie was taking me as the story’s twists and hooks kept darting around my expectations.

Training your dragon Cast

This movie is a lot of fun.  The author Cressida Cowell has apparently created a whole slew of books featuring hiccup.  It looks like I’ve got a couple to pickup!

There was one character who kept giving stats of different dragons including type of breath weapon, range, and movement speed.  Clearly it was making fun of Dungeons and Dragons, but it could make a neat world setting for a simple role playing system.  They did keep referencing a book with all of the dragons and their powers.  Being curious about this, I did a google search for ‘How to Train Your Dragon RPG’  It looks like I wasn’t the only one to make this obvious connection.  Hopefully I won’t be coming across as dorky as some of the results I have found!

This is one to see on the big screen, you won’t be disappointed.