Archive for » August, 2009 «

Thursday, August 27th, 2009 | Author: Casey Criswell

There was seemingly a lot of hate spewed forth about “Terminator Salvation” when it hit screens, enough so that I let it sway me and keep me from running out to see it right away. Generally I work hard to not lot public opinion influence my own, but this time it won me over. I loved the first two “Terminator” flicks, I loved the first season of “Sarah Connor Chronicles”, but “T3″ left a bad taste in my mouth. I suppose I feared the worst in that “Salvation” would be a repeat offender by the general disdain it received. Having sat through it, I quickly realized that while it does have its problems, it’s not a total wash. In fact, it was pretty enjoyable as an action movie.

“Salvation” seemed to be plagued by some definite problems, mostly centered around some general stupidity in plot elements and such. The special effects were pretty great, the action was enjoyable. My main issue really over all of it; when you’re facing the end of humanity at the hands of machines, why on earth would you nuke a machine base that is full of captive humans? You would think that rescuing ANY humans left alive would be the prime directive in the face of dwindling numbers. Sure, the majority of the captives weren’t necessarily freedom fighters, but they were human all the same. This was the primary moment of the movie that I had troubles dealing with.

In hindsight, I may have been too caught up in this notion. While it wasn’t fully explained away as such, this motive could actually explain a lot of things. I key theme throughout the film was that John Connor was not quite the leader and savior of humanity yet; he was still a simple soldier looked at as a handy tool to the leaders of the resistance. Perhaps it was Connors drive to save these human captives it what proved that he was to be the savior of mankind in the end. As I said, this is merely a theory as director McG didn’t to any real lengths at all to prop up this idea. It is just something that you pick up on and it fits.

There are many small moments in this film that they managed to work in some of the past “Terminator” mythos. These moments are a nice little treat, such as when it finally dawned on me that Bryce Dallas Howard was the grown up equivalent of Clair Danes from “T3″, bits such as that. The more blatant examples weren’t too bad either, such as the CGI return of ‘Ahnold’ in is muscle-y glory. I rather enjoyed Anton Yelchin’s turn as Connor’s time-misplaced father Kyle Reese. He seemed to fit in well with the back story established by Michael Biehn back in 1984. His energy and drive was right for the character and he was pretty funny when needed as well. Christian Bale is a definite improvement as the enigmatic John Connor over the likes of Edward Furlong. The man is a good actor, that’s a given, however the movie didn’t seem quite as centered on him as the trailers let on. There are some good side plots that branch off of his main story line and the worked well so this isn’t a negative against the film. It just wasn’t what I expected to see from the early advertising campaign.

Aside from our main characters that were all acted well, “Terminator Salvation” suffers a bit from having too many side characters that are brought to the forefront for no real purpose. Take for example the gang of underground survivors led by the old woman at the gas station. There seemed to be a heap of good story here in both the group as a whole and the old woman leading them as well. Tension between the apparent leader and her subordinates but once captured, it is dropped to the way side with no further attention. Sure, you can’t spend too much time on these side plots or the movie would be four hours long. However, there are so many small moments of characters with a hint of solid story that are later forgotten, it detracts some from the main plot. One would think that forgoing these extras would allow more time to concentrate on the important parts.

“Terminator Salvation” for me lights squarely in the middle of the highly loved action/sci-fi franchise. It files to outshine the first two films but out paces “T3″ by leaps and bounds. There has been talk that they plan on making a new trilogy starting off with “Salvation” and that is fine by me. It’s not a spectacular film but it is an enjoyable film and would make a solid base to launch a new series. The wastelands of the future were laid out great, much like I’d expect them to look from what we only were told in words early on. As long as you get the major players back, I’ll be happy to come and cheer on John Connor once again. I probably won’t wait quite as long to do so next time either.

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Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 | Author: Casey Criswell

Rumors are afoot tonight that Megan Fox will be cast as the next Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s next “Dark Knight” film. I myself heard the news on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show this afternoon, so there may be some truth to it.

It begs the question…does Christopher Nolan really think that Megan Fox has what it takes to pull off Selina Kyle, and be able to fit in with the dark and gritty world he’s created around the Batman mythos? For myself, I have to say I don’t really think so. Sure, she’s got the looks and will look great in a leather catsuit. In Nolan’s world of “The Dark Knight” however you need more than that. You have to have an actor that can pull off the dark and gritty feel, give a believable broken character and not just look sexy. I really don’t think Megan Fox is up to the task.

The biggest factor here is to look at the caliber of actors that she will be working around and she simply doesn’t fit. Many questioned the choice of Heath Ledger as the Joker when it was first announced but we knew Ledger could actually act. So sure, it wasn’t the most obvious choice, but he had chops and could keep up with his fellow co-stars. Fox hasn’t proven herself of the same level of skill as of yet and she’s even said herself in interviews that she knows what her main assets are and that she’s not necessarily destined long for the silver screen.

The one saving grace of this choice could lie in the planned script that Nolan has in mind. No clear details are out yet so we honestly do not know just how pivotal a role Catwoman may play in this upcoming “Dark Knight” movie. If it is something more along the lines of a brief cameo, perhaps on the level or slightly less than that of Cillian Murphy’s Scarecrow in the original film, or even on the level of Ras Al Ghul, it could work. Limited screen time means limited acting time so perhaps he’s only expecting Catwoman to look good in leather. Too early to tell, but I figure it is new worthy of worry at the least.

“So Mr. Internet Critic, if Megan Fox is so awful, who do you think is worthy?” Well, I’d be happy to share.

Honestly, I hadn’t given the role much thought at all until this news came out but there are plenty of worthy actresses out there with serious acting chops that could pull it off. I figure much like Ledger, it would be safe to go with somebody that may be stepping a bit outside the comfort zones of their typical roles. Keep in mind this is just off the hip, but actresses I think might work. Mostly aiming at stirring up some debate on the topic.

I’ll admit, Ms. Weisz didn’t come to mind immediately when I first thought about it. I think she’s a great actress, has a good range and would be a good fit for the romance angle. The dark and damaged side of the character would be something fairly new for Weisz and I honestly think she could pull it off. I don’t take credit for the idea, I got the idea from Sabrina Brody over at Once she mentioned the name, she seemed like a perfect fit.

So please, join in on one nerds out cry of internet rage and voice your opinions on the idea of Megan Fox portraying the Catwoman along side Christian Bale! Don’t hesitate to share your own ideas for the part either!

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Thursday, August 20th, 2009 | Author: Casey Criswell

Recently I’ve been involved with helping promote the upcoming Shane Acker animated flick, “9″. The movie is definitely catchy at first glance and the trailer rocks the house with some Coheed and Cambria jamming in the background. There wasn’t much involved on my end aside from thinking it looked like a cool post-apocalyptic sci-fi flick with some good creep built in, so why not.

Late last week, I got a cool surprise in the mail which serves to remind you that sometimes being a blogger has its perks! What I found inside the box was this spiffy limited edition “9″ photo book! It came in a zippered burlap bag that mimics the duds of the star of the film, 9, and a pretty thick & glossy photobook inside. It also contains the original short film that inspired the feature lenght film on DVD!

Now, the best part here is…it’s not a review piece! It’s just promo shwag sent as a thanks and to look cool on my book shelf.

So, there it is. Just something cool I though I’d share.


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Thursday, August 13th, 2009 | Author: Casey Criswell

I’ve already heard it a couple times since talking about it on Twitter last night. Many people are going to read this post and say, “I can’t believe you haven’t seen this yet!” And well, my only excuse is that I’ve been pretty single minded in my movie watching for the last few years! I’ve had a certain type of film I’ve been writing towards, so and had the blinders on so to speak. But now Cinema Fromage is a little more loosey goosey, so with that in mind the times between duties at Bloody Good Horror have been a madcap race to catch up on what I’ve been missing outside the horror world. Some films I’ve discovered I haven’t been missing much, others I can only sit back and wonder as to why I waited so long! “Lucky Number Slevin” is one such film.

From the get go, “Slevin” has all the makings of a film I would like, all the way down to its barest bones. The cast of this film is quite simply amazing and all of the big players I’ve been a fan of in some way shape or form over the years. For instance, Morgan Freeman. Show me a man that says he’s not a Morgan Freeman fan, I’ll show you a man that doesn’t watch movies. The man simply is movies, right? Here we get to see him take a turn as the bad guy. Something we don’t see too often but when we do, it is always phenomenal. Playing off him is Ben Kingsley. Sure, Kingsley has been known to throw in a few clunkers here and there such as when he’s working with Uwe Boll but in “Lucky Number Slevin”, he’s on. He’s menacing, he’s funny, he’s very very Jewish and all around fun to watch. Lucy Liu is throw in here too for a well rounded mix. She’s had few roles as well that I could do without but generally she’s pretty fun. Here, she’s great. She’s a bit manic, a bit crazy, plenty weird and down right adorable.

Those people are fine actors for sure, but let’s get down to the nitty-gritty here. Josh Hartnett and Bruce Willis. I’ll be honest here; I flat out love Bruce Willis. I even liked “Hudson Hawk” because he was in it. When he is playing his quirky roles such as here as Mr. Goodkat the specialist hit man, he’s at his best. He does well in the mainstream but I always feel he’s at his best when he’s a few steps away from that lime light. As Goodkat he’s menacing and quirky, precise and exacting. It makes him feel cold as ice and dangerous. Hartnett plays great off him as well though they spend very little screen time with each other. Though some have voiced their opinion that Hartnett isn’t a good actor, I’ve never had an issue with him and he fits in great here as Slevin Kelevra. The cockiness works well for him and the dry humor does well too.

“Lucky Number Slevin” is the type of film that you can’t go into too much detail on the plot as you might give too much away. A crime thriller with plenty of black comedy mixed in, it has many twists and turns to keep you guessing and is downright fun. A couple of times throughout this movie I figured I had the twists sussed out only to have the tables turned on me once again. Often times you find yourself right in your guesses, but then there is more that you didn’t suspect. All of these twists are worked in very subtly which is what makes the movie fun. Never does it smack you aside the head to say “Haha! We got you!” Instead, they unfold naturally and soon become an expected part of the story.

This is a great movie that wished I wouldn’t have waited so long to finally catch. The crime story is a great one filled with vengeance, double crosses and murder. It’s engrossing and highly entertaining. The humor that they mix in here is the icing on the cake that makes this transform from a good movie to a great movie that you’ll remember for some time to come. Never once did anyone, or anything, feel out of place.

In all honesty, with the cast at play here, it felt much like getting together with old friends and having a good night. Never a bad thing and worth your time to watch at home whenever you can.

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Wednesday, August 05th, 2009 | Author: Casey Criswell

Life rears its ugly head once again and begins to bog down my own personal blogosphere as of late, but that’s not to say I haven’t been watching movies. When real life bulks up to become annoying, I find myself watching some movies not to review or write about in critical detail but to simply kick back and relax a bit. Many of the movies become re-watches, flicks I know that I’m going to life so that I can shut off the old noggin and space out for a few, some are ones I’ve been meaning to watch but don’t really feel I can add to much to what has already been said of it. Work continues though, so it’s not all for loss, if you want to check out some reviews be sure to check out my write ups for Val Kilmer’s The Chaos Experiment, Steve Zahn, Lee Lee Sobieski and Danny Glover in Night Train and Nick Simmons Incarnate #1 over at Bloody Good Horror.

As for the fun stuff this week, the Criswell family finally made it out to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and enjoyed ourselves quite a bit! The Mrs. being the hard core fan of the family found the movie to be pretty great though she wishes she could have seen a lot of the content cut from the book, such as Dumbledore’s procession. The daughter was pretty devastated by the events that take place in the film but otherwise liked it quite a bit. For myself, I felt the movie was fantastic all around and though it may be the newness and the heat of the moment, mark it as amongst my favorite of the franchise so far. The setup for the final book is pretty great here and I can’t wait to see it all! I’ve read the books but not too closely, so the cut factors don’t bother me too much, so that’s a plus. And for an off note, let it be know that I love love love Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange. Rawr!

For the past week or two, mainly since I picked up a blu-ray player, I’ve found myself with an unexplained urge to watch The Fast and the Furious and its sequels. This is odd for me for a number of reasons, primarily because I’m the type that could give a shit about cars in general and I’m not the world biggest Vin Diesel fan either. The movies felt like they would lend themselves to the flashy colors and loud sounds of blu-ray though, so I suppose that was a driving factor. (Get it?) I did finally manage to give the first two films a watch this past week and ultimately, I didn’t hate them. There is a bit more story to them than I expected, at least in the first film, so it wasn’t too horrible. 2 Fast 2 Furious was really rather boring over all and flat, especially in comparison to the first movie and just felt like an over long episode of ‘generic action cop show’. I’m still planning on giving the the 3rd and 4th movies a shot but the urgency has now been sated, so it may be awhile for those. At least Jordana Brewster comes back for the latest flick!

I don’t buy a lot of DVDs and Blu-ray disks these days. The majority of my library is made up of review copies in from PR companies and a lot of rentals. Browsing through the Video on Demand choices on our UVerse box the other night in search of something mindless to throw on, I was thrilled to find one of my favorite comedies of late in the free VOD choices, Pineapple Express. Having seen it roughly three times now, this one has quickly earned its title as my default background movie. The first time through, I was pretty amazed in that the film isn’t just a simple “Cheech and Chong” ripoff, but actually a cleverly disguised action comedy. Seth Rogan has reached the over saturation point lately but he’s firing on all cylinders here, for me anyway. The highlight of the movie though is James Franco’s Saul Silver. Luckily, the movie holds up to repeated viewings and is just and funny the second and third times through and always serves well for turning off and tuning out.

Some may even say there’s quite a bit of physical resemblance to myself and my friend Chris many years ago, but that’s another story for another day!

The movie watching is still going on, but it has been more in the personal indulgence mode as of late. The writing continues on as well, but again more in the personal venue than of the public nature. Coming up, I’m expecting some new review disks in the mail any day now, in particular some blu-ray disks to start the coverage on that spectrum too!