Sunday, December 20, 2009

Avatar (2009)

Avatar made a worldwide gross of $1,025,378,961 in 17 days! James Cameron might beat his previous record of $1,835,300,000 worldwide for Titanic! Aren't I psychic? James Cameron has made a great comeback and Avatar is a brilliant mixture of action, adventure, romance, drama, and fantasy.

The plot revolves around a paraplegic marine, Jake Sully, who is involved in an extraordinary mission taking place in Pandora, which is the distant moon with toxic air that is light years away. Within Pandora, the Omaticaya tribe of Na'vi, 10 feet tall blue human-like creatures, happens to be inhabited just above a vast amount of rich minerals known as Unobtanium that are worth millions since it could possibly save earth from the energy crisis. The humans plan to force the Na'vi to leave their land so they could mine for the precious Unobtanium. A human could be mentally linked to an avatar as long as they are genetically similar. Jake’s twin brother, Tom, was part of the Pandora program and also had his own genetically engineered avatar. However, after he died, Jake agreed to take his place in the mission. While exploring Pandora and encountering numerous strange creatures with sharp fangs, piercing talons, and thundering roars, he meets Neytiri, who is a Na'vi and part of the Omaticaya tribe. Neytiri becomes Jake's mentor, teaching him many things ranging from archery, learning the Na'vi language, flying large bird-like Banshees, riding Direhorses, and many more. As the inevitable mission of the humans transpires to mine for the Unobtanium beneath the home-tree of the Na'vi tribe, the Avatar intervenes after witnessing such inhuman acts led by Colonel Quaritch. However, by defending the Na'vi, Jake has not only betrayed his own people, now becoming their enemy, but also lost the trust of Neytiri and her tribe. Now, the alienated Avatar has reached the defining moment to execute his own plan...

So far, Avatar is the most expensive film in history, costing approximately $230,000,000. Being the most anticipated film of 2009, Avatar made $232 million just over the weekend! I wouldn't be surprised if the film makes a billion dollars! James Cameron actually intended to film Avatar just after Titanic in 1997, however, he delayed it in order to let the technology catch up first, which nearly left a 10 year gap between the two films. Apparently, the long wait was worthwhile with superb results. The visual effects is stunningly realistic and takes the audience’s breath away as their eyes are glued on screen and they are transported into the mysterious world of Pandora. Filming Avatar requires meticulous work and every detail counts. The environment of Pandora includes phantasmagorical plants, colossal floating mountains, breath-taking scenes, and unique creatures.

Let’s not forget that Avatar is not just an animation film, where the characters are put into motion through the computer while the actors do voice-overs. This film is %60 CGI and %40 live action. During production, the actors would wear special suits so the camera could capture the character’s motion and they would have small green dots drawn all over their faces so that their facial expressions are visible. In addition, actors and actresses would have to go through months of training in order to learn how to fight. James Cameron also sent the crew out to the jungles in Hawaii in order to let the actors and actresses get the feel of the forest. Paul Frommer, a linguist, actually invented the Na’vi language, creating 1000 words. The main characters were taught the correct pronunciation and how to speak fluently. Avatar is the evolution of filmmaking and is without doubt the best movie I have ever seen! No one could possibly forget about the exceptional visual effects. Describing the film as a hybrid of live action and CGI, James Cameron said, “Ideally at the end of the day the audience has no idea which they’re looking at.” HD Trailer

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

La Vie En Rose (2007)

La Vie En Rose, meaning “Life in Pink," is an inspirational film portraying the life of the prodigal Edith Piaf, characterized by Marion Cotillard. Edith Piaf is known as a legendary French singer who captures the hearts of millions with her golden voice and dazzles them with her exceptional classic songs like the famous La Vie En Rose, which is her signature song.

Her life was no fairy tale filled with glamour and happy endings but rather an array of adversities starting in her early childhood. Daughter of an alcoholic mother and father who is fighting for his country in the World War 1, Edith spends most of her melancholy childhood with her grandmother until the end of the war. Her musical talent begins to develop and serves as her only means of survival by singing on the street.

It was several years later when Edith is discovered by a nightclub owner and introduced to a talented songwriter named, Raymond Asso, who gives her a glimpse of what tomorrow will be if she learns to be more expressive with her songs and learns to overcome her stage fright. A life after that is a beginning of a new hope.

One night while performing in New York, she meets Marcel, who is a French boxer, and becomes emotionally involved. It was like a whirlwind relationship that develops and ends so fast leaving Edith mourning over her great loss after Marcel’s plane crashed.

As if her life lacks more excitement, she suffers from a disabilitating arthritis causing her too much pain. Despite of all the misfortunes that miserably plunged into her path since childhood, she has learned to be resilient, and has survived by holding close to her true passion, her music. Each time she performs, she delivers a performance of a lifetime that was well depicted in the beginning of the movie where she fainted right at the stage.

After watching this movie, I was mesmerized by the dynamic performance of Marion Cotillard, who was perfectly casted for the role. I knew then that Cate Blanchett has a serious competition for the Oscar as best actress. Performing the life of Edith Piaf was overwhelmingly challenging.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Queen Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) is a compelling historical film, starring Cate Blanchett as the legendary Queen Elizabeth I of England, and won a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Costume. It is a controversial film because of its melodramatic influence over a more realistic epic film of a great ruler which was the height of the reigning feminist in history, the Elizabethan era. She might have been a female ruler donned in an ornate gown yet had the heart and mind of a powerful man.

The film takes place in the late 1,500’s while England is under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I. The historical plot revolves between the fierce rivalry of two powerful countries, England and Spain. King Philip II of Spain wants to rule England and builds Armada to invade it and become its ruler. Later, he orchestrates a plot with Jesuit group to assassinate Elizabeth, known as the “Babington Plot,” implicating Mary Stuart as the Queen of Scots, for conspiring the act which leads to her arrest and later an execution for high treason.

Elizabeth is known to remain a Virgin Queen but as the Queen of England she perceives herself as married to her kingdom. However, there are dramatic twists in this epic film showing the attraction between Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh, an explorer returning from the New World played by Clive Owen. But her love for Raleigh ends when she discovers that he is discretely married to her favorite lady-in-waiting, Bess. Their intimacy provokes opposition and, outraged, Elizabeth banishes Bess from court and imprisons Raleigh in the Tower of London. She later forgives them and releases Raleigh to join the attack on the Spanish Armada ships, resulting victorious. Defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588 is considered to be one of the greatest triumphs in the annals of England.

The acting is absolutely superfluous and Cate Blanchett should have won that Academy Award for Best Actress. Also, the spectacular cinematography and Elizabeth’s ornate costume and white painted face, which is seemingly imbued throughout her skin representing an iconographic image of a powerful queen, successfully transport the audience into the scenes.

A controversy arose due to inaccurate historical facts that were altered due to the artistic vision of director, Shekhar Kapur. Cate Blanchett said, “It’s terrifying that we are growing up with this very illiterate bunch of children, who are somehow being taught that film is fact, when in fact it’s invention. Hopefully though an historical film will inspire people to go and read about the history. But in the end it is a work of history and selection.”


-->2012, the best Doomsday film so far, is directed by Roland Emmerich, creator of several other disaster movies such as Independence Day, Godzilla, and Day After Tomorrow. Roland said that he’d make this the Mother of all disaster movies!
THE END IS NEAR… Doomsday, anticipated to take place on December 21st, 2009 by the Mayan civilization thousands of years ago, is just around the corner and the government is desperate for a brilliant solution to ensure the continuity of the human race. A sequence of natural disasters is prognosticated by several scientists such as immense earthquakes, devastating volcanic eruptions, and colossal tsunamis all around the world. However, this terrible fate is inevitable.

Jackson Curtis, a divorced limo driver, begins to suspect some terrible, unknown tragedy while taking his kids on a short camping vacation at the Yellowstone National Park. It all started when he was approached by the strange Charlie, who warns him of “the end,” and then all chaos breaks loose, ranging from speeding down a crumbling city to plummeting through the smoky ruins! Hurtling through every adversity, Jackson and his family continue on their frightening journey for survival.

This action-packed film never had a dull moment, constantly filled with catastrophic scenes of chaos from beginning to end! 2012 has superb, breathtaking CGI effects! You owe it to yourself to see this in a large screen. John Cusack did a great job portraying Jackson Curtis. It was totally hilarious whenever he’s late and he says, “I’m hurtling towards you as we speak!” when he is not even in the car yet! The script is definitely well-written and throws every disaster humanly possible at you, establishing an intensifying atmosphere that escalates every minute! The music and sound effects absolutely added to the intensity of the scenes, amplifying the suspense to the max! Unfortunately, this is Roland Emmerich’s last disaster movie. But I guess he has no other choice because he’s done it all!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Chase (2009)


There is no escape...

After Roni witnesses two strangers exchanging a briefcase in the park, she couldn't resist the temptation of finding out what’s the story behind this suspicious act and got her friend, Danielle, involved, which led them into a wild chase.

The Chase (2009) is the first film that I have written, directed, and produced and is around 30 minutes long. While writing the script, I decided that I wanted an action-packed short-film with intense scenes that would keep the audience grasping the edges of their seats.

Making my first film was exhilarating and at the same time frightening. During pre-production, I encountered many roadblocks, and casting is definitely one of them. I ended up portraying the role of Roni. Overall, I had to rewrite the script around seven times due to casting issues and several changes. As a result of the limited schedule, we had to film rain or shine and day for night.

Is filming fun? Well, we had one scene that took place on a steep hill. As the camera started rolling, the sky turned dark grey and it started drizzling, but it also doubled the fun. And to answer the question, rolling down a hill is not fun. Well who would call plummeting down a bumpy, cold, damp hill with hidden rocks and going home with bruises all over your body fun? Not to mention the numerous retakes required.

Several challenges involved in filming this movie were setting up the lighting and shooting day for night. Experimenting with the lights was a pain. We would spend hours comparing the locations and brightness of the light. Adding to the difficulty, we had to make sure that the night scenes shot during the day looked realistic and consistent with previous clips. This is one reason why editing lasted for eternity. Well, "no pain, no gain." Without doubt, that was the most ambitious thing I have ever done. Now I could say that filming a movie is indeed fun.

Dances with Wolves (1990)

Dances with Wolves, starring Kevin Costner, won 7 Academy Awards in 1990, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Music, Best Sound, and Best Writing. It was also directed and produced by Kevin Costner himself.

This 1990 epic film depicts the story of Union Army Officer First Lieutenant John Dunbar, who embarks on a journey to the American Frontier to find a military post. Upon arriving at the post, Dunbar has anticipated more soldiers to join him. After several weeks of solitude, Dunbar finds it peculiar that no other soldiers has joined him and documents it in his journal. Unfortunately, Dunbar's assignment to the post remained unknown due to the death of the major, who was in charge of his mission. Dunbar later encounters the Sioux tribe and gains their respect and has been welcomed into their tribe as a member known as Dances with Wolves.

As a result of this movie, Kevin Costner was considered an honorary member of the Sioux tribe. In addition, the Library of Congress has chosen Dances with Wolves for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in the year 2007. This movie is highly acclaimed for its humanistic portrayal of American Indians. The casts’ performances are exceptional thanks to Costner’s directions and the cinematography is utterly prodigious. Another outstanding factor in this engrossing film is the soundtrack, earning John Barry an Academy Award for Best Music. Despite its duration of about 3 hrs, Dances with Wolves keeps the audience engaged throughout the film. This movie grossed $184 million without ever having to reach #1 on the box-office charts and is the highest grossed western movie of all time.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

In my opinion, Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCarprio and Tom Hanks, has one of the most exceptional plots. The script is based on a true story about Frank Abagnale, a young con artist on the run. Frank, whose character is acted out by Leonardo, runs away after his parents separated and attempts to retrieve all the money that was lost.

However, he chooses an illegal path. He produces fraudulent checks, impersonates a pilot, doctor, and attorney, and travels around the world trying to evade a determined FBI agent named Carl, who is portrayed by Tom. Despite his effort to avoid the FBI, Carl finally catches him in France and he is being extradited and given a long prison sentence.

One day, Carl visits him in jail asking his help to identify an unsolved case of fraudulent checks and is impressed by his expertise, which prompted him to offer a job to work for FBI. Frank accepts it since it was his only way out though he misses the thrill of his old life.

According to the scrolling text at the end of the film, Frank gets married and has three children and he and Carl become close friends even to this day. Believe it or not, Frank actually invented the most unforgeable checks being used until today. He also caught many of the most elusive money forgers.

Steven Spielberg, as usual, did a phenomenal job in directing. Leonardo delivers an astounding performance as the deceitful and charming young con artist. Hopefully, he will win an Oscar soon. I believe he is one of the best actors in Hollywood who hasn't won an Oscar yet. Tom Hanks also did an equally spectacular performance as the FBI agent who finally outsmarted the intelligent fraudster. The movie is filled with endless humor and keeps you hooked to the story the whole two hours. It is unbelievable how clever Frank Abagnale is, being 19 years old when he stole millions of dollars.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Somewhere in Time (1980)

Somewhere in Time is a classic romantic movie, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

During a celebration of his first play's success, Richard Collier meets an elderly woman who hands him an old watch and whispers, "Come back to me." Richard is bewildered by her statement, until several years later when he becomes instantly intrigued by the riveting beauty of a young woman in a portrait at a grand hotel. The image of the woman lingers in his mind and he soon realizes that she is the same old woman who gave him the timeworn watch. After many years, he pieces the puzzle together, leading him to his college professor, the author of Time Traveling. The next day, he prepares for an exciting journey through space and time to reach the mysterious Elise McKenna.

Every once in a while, a powerful love story captures the hearts of many. The script is well-written and compelling. Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour have great chemistry, creating a very heart-warming story that will never be forgotten. In addition, the setting, soundtrack (Somewhere in Time Rhapsody has always been one of my favorite songs), and cinematography have a major role in creating such a romantic atmosphere, perfect for the film.

The Illusionist (2006)

The Illusionist has a plot that is invigoratingly clever, downright ingenious, and endlessly twisted. Eisenheim, a professional illusionist, was searching for a volunteer among the swarming crowd in the massive theater to help him perform his magic. He was joined at the middle of the stage by Sophie, the fiancee of Crown Prince Leopold. It is revealed that Eisenheim and Sophie had a past relationship; this time, Eisenheim is determined to pursue her no matter what the consequences are.

I have seen this movie 5 times and I have never gotten tired of it. The masterful tricks that fascinate me most are the orange tree and the ghost trick. The script is brilliant and Edward Norton did a marvelous job. I love how the lighting equipment used in this film causes everything to be illuminated and gives it a film look that shows details and hues of old and romantic feeling to match the period where the story takes place. The montage at the end is intellectual and gives you a chance to piece it all together and solve the mystery.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)


Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is definitely my favorite western movie. There is no doubt about it. Although the only thing western about it is that it takes place in the West. Other than western, this movie is a mix of romance, comedy, action, and drama.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are the most well known bank-robbers around the area. They are highly wanted for numerous robberies resulting in the shutting down of many banks. For many years, these two partners have been elusive until one day, when a posse persistently pursues them. After hours of trying to evade the posse, they reach a dead end at the canyon. However, they finally lose track of the group when they decide to jump off the cliff and into the river below even though Sundance could not swim. As soon as they reach Etta’s house, they realize that the posse will not give up until Butch and Sundance are dead. Desperate to escape, they decide to leave the country, taking Etta along.

What really made this movie stand out is the well-written script. The plot may be common and simple but the actors and the way the story was delivered made the movie unique and entertaining. There weren’t any slow or boring scenes that I could recall and the movie had many humorous and romantic scenes to create a well-rounded story.

Several people thought the choice of music was horrendous. I thought it was perfect for the story because the story takes place a long time ago and if they used modern music it would be wrong. I thought Burt Bacharach did a fantastic job.

Here are several of my favorite parts:

It was hilarious when they were trying to rob a bank in Bolivia but they didn’t know how to speak Spanish. When Sundance said that he didn’t know the language in Bolivia, Butch said not to worry because he knew how to speak Spanish. However, Sundance found out that Butch was lying. In this scene, Butch is the one trying to give orders in Spanish during the robbery but he couldn’t remember his lines. So, he took out a paper that listed all the common phrases used during a bank robbery. What is so funny is that Sundance is the one who actually remembers the common phrases and he is the one who didn’t know how to speak Spanish.

Butch Cassidy: Manos a... Manos, um... Manos arriba!
Sundance Kid: They got 'em up! Skip on down.
Butch Cassidy: Arriba!
Sundance Kid: Skip on down!
Butch Cassidy: Todos ustedes "arrismense" a la pared.
Sundance Kid: They're against the wall already!
Butch Cassidy: Donde... Ah, you're so damn smart, you read it!

Another funny part is near the beginning when they were robbing a train. They were trying to steal money inside a safe but the owner of the train refused to give them the combination. They decided to use dynamite to open the safe.
As Butch is walking away from the train after setting up the dynamite, he says, “Well that ought to do it.”

Seconds later, the whole train is blown up into smithereens.
As they stare at the remainders of the train and the dollar bills flying in the sky, Sundance Kid says, “Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?”

This part is when Butch and Sundance were trying to escape from the posse and were trying to figure out who their pursuers were.

Sundance Kid: You remember the time you and me and Etta went to Denver one summer for a vacation?
Butch Cassidy: I'm glad you brought that up, Kid. That's an important topic, considering our situation.
Sundance Kid: The night we went gambling, you remember?
Butch Cassidy: We had dinner at the hotel. Etta had roast beef and I had chicken, and if I can remember what you had, I'll die a happy man.

Here is another section somewhere in the beginning.

Sundance Kid: Well, I think I'll get saddled up and go looking for a woman.
Butch Cassidy: Good hunting.
Sundance Kid: Shouldn't take more than a couple of days. I'm not picky. As long as she's smart, pretty, and sweet, and gentle, and tender, and refined, and lovely, and carefree..

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

I have to say that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) is one of the greatest, unique drama movies that I have seen.

It was an unforgettable night to Queenie and her husband when they find an infant on their porch. However, what stunned them most was the inexplicable phenomenon of an octogenarian baby. Despite the fact, Queenie decides to take care of the baby and named him Benjamin Button.

Benjamin was told that he would not live long but he proved them wrong. Although, at the age of 17, he discovered something unusual. His life cycle is extraordinarily reversed. One day, he meets a young girl named Daisy and they become childhood friends. Throughout the years, Benjamin becomes younger and younger while Daisy as well as the rest of the people around him grow older.

Although this is a very long movie that runs for two and a half hours, my eyes never left the screen. The script is brilliantly written and the transitions are smooth. I believe that Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are perfectly casted. What is most remarkable in this movie is the visual effects. It is amazing how convincingly young Brad Pitt appeared in the movie. The ending of the movie was very touching how Daisy's and Benjamin's relationship progressed. Although the story was unrealistic, it shows the creativity of the writer and is definitely original.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Terminator Salvation (2009)

Terminator Salvation has got to be one of the best movies I have seen this year (Depending on how good Transformers 2 will be).

At the beginning of the movie, a convict, Marcus Wright, is being executed and he agrees to donate his body for medical research. Around 17 years later, Marcus escapes from a Skynet base and heads towards Los Angeles by foot and has no recollection of his criminal past. He has no clue about Judgement day or even what year it is.

Meanwhile, John Conner is leading the Resistance against Skynet in order to save humanity. While leading an attack on a Skynet base, he reveals a file regarding the T-800 Terminator, which includes living tissue. John appears to be the only survivor of a nuclear explosion at the base and he returns to Resistance Headquarters.

Once Marcus reaches LA, he is saved from a T-600 Terminator by Kyle Reese, who has no idea that John Conner is his future son. Once they hear a radio broadcast by John Conner, they begin their search for the Resistance.

However, along the way, they encounter many deadly robots and Kyle and several other people are captured by a large Skynet robot. Fortunately, Marcus escapes and attempts to get the Resistance to assist him save Kyle and the other prisoners. Luckily, he comes across a skilled pilot, Blair Williams, and together they embark on their trip to the Resistance Headquarters.

Nearing the base, Marcus is wounded by magnetic land mines. As he is being rescued, Blair and other Resistance fighters discover that Marcus is a cyborg with human organs, flesh, and blood. John orders that he be terminated but Marcus tries to persuade them that he is human and that he should be released in order to save Kyle.
However, John was convinced that this was part of his scheme and that as soon as he releases him, he will attempt to destroy the Resistance. Defying his orders, Blair sets Marcus free but during their escape, she is wounded and he reluctantly leaves her behind. While John is searching for Marcus, who is being surrounded and attacked by the Resistance, his helicopter is being bombarded by hydrobots and it crashed and landed in the lake. Keeping his words, Marcus saves John's life and together they infiltrate the Skynet headquarters.

What I love about this movie is the action and special effects! It is well-paced and the action is continuous. The casting was perfect and Christian Bale and Sam Worthington did an exceptional job at portraying their character. Christian Bale never disappoints me. I also think that Anton Yelchin was perfect for Kyle Reese. Although, the fight at the end seemed a bit short. Why did they let the T-800 Terminator die so quickly? Also, why can't they just let Marcus live? I like to see him in the next movie! I know that he is supposed to be destroyed because he is a robot but they could have left out the heart transplant!

Overall, the whole movie is outstanding. I love the movie! Just as I walked out of the theater, I already wanted to see it again.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Quantum of Solace (2008)

The James Bond movies are known to be one of the most popular franchises in Hollywood history. All the way from Sean Connery in Dr. No (1962) to Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace (2008) with another movie coming up in 2011. I believe that among all of these movies, Quantum of Solace is the most action-packed.

This film is a sequel of the previous film, Casino Royale. There is an intense car chase that takes place in Italy where James Bond is being pursued by other cars while Mr. White is trapped in his trunk. After he arrives at his destination, Mr. White is being interrogated by M about his secret organization. However, M’s bodyguard, Mitchell, reveals himself as a traitor and gives Mr. White a chance to escape by shooting at James and M. However, this did not stop James from accomplishing his mission to kill him.

While probing Mitchell’s apartment, he learns about the ecological organization called Greene Planet and meets Camille. A general known as Medrano, who is working with Greene, murdered the family of Camille years ago when she was still young. Now she intends to avenge her family. In addition, the two team up to destroy the Greene organization with the help of Mathis and Felix Leiter.

The plot was vague and not well executed. For some people, it is hard to figure out the motives in this movie but action-lovers tend to overlook the imperfections of the plot. I believe that Daniel Craig did a great job as James Bond. Although others may like Roger Moore, Sean Connery, or Pierce Brosnan better because they always appeared to be calm, cool, and collected even in times of peril while Daniel Craig gives James Bond a new identity. He is rugged, muscular, and his action scenes are more intense and physical. In addition, Camille is perfect for the role.

Marc Forster's directing was superb although at times it could be dizzying since the camera is constantly shaking during certain action scenes. Apparently, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace have less gadgets compared to previous James Bond movies but it has much more action. There is only one thing that I absolutely disliked in this movie. During the opera, the loud singing was very distracting while the audience was trying to listen to what was going on or watch the action sequences. Although opera lovers may find it okay. All together, it was a very satisfying movie and many were captivated by the pulse-quickening action.

WALLE (2008)

WALLE, released to theaters on June 27, 2008, is about a lonely robot named WALLE, who lives in a futuristic Earth, which has accumulated a large amount of garbage towering everywhere. WALLE is designed to compact garbage in order to clean up the environment. All humans were to board the Axiom ship until these robots were done gathering all the waste but this process seems to be making no progress at all and the robots were shut down.

However, WALLE is the only robot that is still working and he lives in a garage, where he collects interesting artifacts, with his only friend, a cockroach. Unlike other robots, he begins to develop emotions and often times, he feels lonely. His only sort of entertainment is watching a romantic movie known as Hello Dolly and wishes he had a love of his own.

One day, WALLE encounters a high-tech robot known as EVE, who has been dropped of to Earth by an enormous ship and sent to search for signs of vegetation. Amazingly, he is instantly captivated by her beauty and intends to befriend her. However, he fails to capture her interest no matter how he persistently attempts to impress her with his endless collection of artifacts.

But his luck is about to change when he leads her to his garage where he shows her many of his artifacts nevertheless, it's the plant, which he found a while ago, that snags EVE'S eyes and she instantly communicates with her mother ship. Ironically, EVE goes into hibernation mode after her mission accomplished leaving WALLE in distraught. Several days later, the mother ship returns for EVE and WALLE tries to get her back by hitching a ride on the ship.

This movie is enjoyable for all ages and is a delightful mixture of action, romance, and comedy. It also has a very interesting plot and shows how Earth would look like if we continue to fill it with waste. Some scenes were very touching and keep your eyes glued to the movie. The story flows well and it always keeps you entertained. I believe that this movie is one of the best animation films.

Friday, June 5, 2009

King Kong (2005)

Ann Darrow, portrayed by Naomi Watts, is an unemployed actress who is greatly in need of a job. However, she runs into Carl Denham, who is a filmmaker looking for an actress to replace the one who has dropped out for his movie, and is convinced to star in the film. Carl pays a captain to sail to a mysterious island, which, according to his map, is known as Skull Island. Along the way, Ann meets Jack Driscoll, who is a screenplay writer, and they fall in love with each other throughout the movie.

As they finally reach their destination, crashing into the island’s shore, they encounter natives in an old civilization and are being attacked. After escaping them and returning to their ship, Ann has been secretly taken away and offered to King Kong as a sacrifice.

The crew enters the dangerous jungles of Skull Island in order to rescue Ann. However, they stumble across large, deadly dinosaurs and insects. As they attempt to evade them, many of the crew has been killed. Meanwhile, Ann is being carried away by the massive King Kong.

However, the over-grown ape and Ann begin to enjoy each other’s company and King Kong does anything to protect her. As the sky begins to darken, Ann and King Kong are watching the breath-taking sunset on a towering mountain. Even when it seems as if all hope has been lost, Jack refuses to leave Ann behind and decides to search for her by himself while the rest of the crew returns to the ship and wait.

I believe that this is the best version of King Kong so far. I love this movie even though it was three hours long. Some may find that it is way too long. It was unbelievable how realistic King Kong and all the other creatures appeared and the visuals and sceneries were outstanding. Peter Jackson really has the vision and skills to create such an extraordinary masterpiece. All the acting was superb and the action was non-stop. In addition, Peter Jackson knows how to capture the intensity and suspense in the scene by playing the suspenseful music while the actors act. This movie also had excellent soundtracks. Some may believe that adding the dinosaurs to the movie was unrealistic and not a great idea but I thought that it made the movie even more exciting. It added suspense and was the perfect opponent who gave King Kong a chance to really prove how strong and powerful he was. It also proved his feelings for Ann and how he would risk everything to save her. The ending, as always, is very moving because there was nothing Ann could do to save King Kong. Overall, I believe that King Kong was a very pulse-quickening and uncomparable film.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Star Trek (2009)

 Star Trek is known as one of the most popular franchises. This movie shows how James T. Kirk became captain of the Enterprise. James Kirk was given birth to the day that George Kirk was granted command of the ship when the captain was requested to board Narada, which came out of a black hole and heavily damaged the USS Kelvin. George saves many lives as he stays behind during the evacuation and protects the shuttles from oncoming missiles. Just before the USS Kelvin collides with Narada, George’s wife gives birth to James.

James is now grown up and runs into Captain Pike, who tries to persuade James to enter Starfleet and possibly become captain of the Enterprise in around 8 years of studying. However, James laughs at the idea of joining Starfleet. Pike then states that James’s father saved 800 lives in 12 minutes of command and challenges him to do better. James considers this, and decides to join Starfleet the next day.

Now being a student at Starfleet for about 3 years, James attempts to pass the Kobayashi Maru a third time, which has never been done before, and this time he finally passes. However, he is being accused of cheating by alternating the computer in order to win. James meets his accuser, Spock, a Vulcan student who is half human. During the official inquiry, a rescue mission interrupted the hearing. Although Kirk has been grounded and could not join the mission, McCoy helps get him into the Enterprise on medical grounds by injecting him with a vaccine.

It turns out that the lightning storm that the Enterprise is approaching is the same lightning storm that the USS Kelvin encountered before the Narada emerged from the black hole. He informs Captain Pike and Spock confirms that he is correct. As the Narada approaches them and attacks, lowering the Enterprise’s shield percentage, Nero orders Captain Pike to come aboard. Spock is given command of the ship and Kirk is now first officer.
Spock beams down to Vulcan to save the council, including his parents, just before Vulcan implodes but in the process of beaming them back to the ship, Spock lost his mother. Millions of Vulcans died and very few of them survived. Now that Nero’s objective is complete, he heads for Earth with the help of Captain Pike. Now the Enterprise must do their best to save Earth and Captain Pike.

I just recently saw Star Trek in the IMAX theater and I was amazed by the spectacular visuals and sound effects. The actors did a superb job at portraying the characters. The script was well written and the action was continuous. This movie captured the audiences’ attention with a mixture of humor, action, suspense, and mystery and is a must see.

For people who are considering watching the original Star Trek movies, if you are looking for nonstop action, don’t watch it. However, Star Trek fans find these movies interesting for their plot and story. The plots of the original Star Trek movies are very fascinating and although the movie is older, its visuals are also breathtaking.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump, starring Tom Hanks, is a well-rounded movie that was released in theaters in 1994. It is an ultimate combination of comedy, drama, romance, war, and action and earned Tom Hanks an Oscar as best actor. Although it is 2 hours and 30 minutes long, the film captures the audiences' attention and the next thing you know, you're watching the end credits.

Most of the movie takes place on a bench where Forrest tells the story of his life to several strangers who happen to sit next to him. Forrest Gump is an unintelligent boy who meets Jenny, the love of his life, on the first day of school on the bus. from that day until the end of college, they were very close friends. While narrating the story, Forrest mentions twice that "Jenny and I were like peas and carrots." However, throughout the story, the two are being separated several times such as when Jenny leaves to San Francisco and Forrest becomes a soldier in the Vietnam war but no matter what, they always find a way to reunite. During his lifetime, Forrest Gump has been present in many historical events and has made many friends along the way such as Lt. Dan Taylor and Bubba.

There are many memorable quotes in the movie. Some of my favorite are:
"My momma told me that life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."
"Jenny and I were like peas and carrots."
"Stupid is as stupid does."
"That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I'd just run across the great state of Alabama. And that's what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I'd gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going."

Another great thing about this movie is the soundtracks. There is almost a different song for every single scene! The selections are also well done and they go perfectly with the movie. I also loved how they put Forrest in past videos of John Lennon, President Nixon, and President Kennedy!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fistful of Dollars (1964)

 Fistful of Dollars, the first spaghetti-western movie to be internationally distributed, was filmed in Italy in 1964. This entertaining film began a long and successful career for Clint Eastwood, the Man with No Name, as an actor and director. The film is about a clever sharpshooter known as Joe who deceives two rival families, the Baxters and the Rojos. "Baxter's over there, Rojo's there, me right smack in the middle."

My favorite part out of all the three Dollar movies is at the beginning of Fistful of Dollars, when he approaches the cowboys and says, "Adios amigos."
"Look stranger, we don't like bad boys like you around town. Why don't you go get your mule? Did you let him get away from you?"
"You see, that's what I wanted to talk to you about. He's feeling really bad."
"My mule, you see he got all riled up when you men were firing those shots at his feet. Of course, if you were all to apologize..." (laughter)
Joe, his hat concealing his face, flips his poncho over his shoulder to reveal his holster. He glares back at them, squinting.
"I don't think its nice, you laughing. My mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you're laughing at him. Now if you'd apologize, like I know you would, I might be able to convince him that you really didn't mean it."
Their hands hover over their holsters as they tensely stand in silence for a long suspenseful moment until one man reaches for his weapon and Joe fires five subsequent bullets, swift and accurate, as they drop to the ground, defeated.

Clint's superb acting, the intriguing plot, exceptional directing by Sergio Leone, and the soundtracks by Ennio Morricone are factors that make this a classic!

In the sequel, A Few Dollars More, the Man with No Name, now known as Monco, meets Colonel Douglas Mortimer, played by Lee Van Cleef who tracks down criminals. These two bounty hunters collaborate to track down a western outlaw. In my opinion, Fistful of Dollars is better than A Few Dollars More because scenes in which the characters draw drag on and on to the point that you loose interest and become bored with anticipation. Furthermore, they repeat the same process several times throughout the film. In spite of that, the movie is action-packed and still enjoyable.

However, it is the third movie that outshines the first two. Blondie (Clint) and Tuco team up at first then become enemies until rumor spreads of the location of gold being buried in a certain cemetery. As they make their way to the cemetery, they run into Colonel Douglas Mortimer who is heading towards the same destination. They soon embark on a tight race to the gold. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly has an engrossing plot that keeps the audience glued to their seats until the conclusion. It may be 20 minutes too long but for some people, time flies by.

Rocky (1976)

Rocky Balboa is a boxer who has not developed all of his techniques. Apollo Creed, the current boxing champion, is trying to make himself look good by giving an unknown boxer a once in a lifetime opportunity to fame and wealth by challenging him in the ring. Many doubt that he'll defeat the champ but he goes for it anyway. During the fight, Rocky would have won if there was just a few more seconds but Apollo still won. At the conclusion of the movie, Rocky didn't care if he lost because he decided boxing is not for him and he just wanted to be with his girlfriend, Adrian.

One of my most favorite part of this movie besides the final fight, is when Adrian comes into his place, asking if she could use the phone to call her brother just in case he might be worried. Since Rocky didn't have a phone, he just opened the window and yelled out across the neighborhood instead.

I enjoyed all of the Rocky movies and I love the inspirational theme song. Rocky was an instant success when it first came out in theaters despite its low budget. It had a brilliant script, excellent acting, and the fights were directed well and made you feel like you were in the ring with the two actors. Sylvester Stallone did a fantastic job portraying Rocky's character and is the talented screenplay writer who started the Rocky franchise. Not only did he write the script, but he began directing the Rocky movies after he starred in the first movie.

The second movie is as good as the first. Apollo may have won the fight in the first movie but a few seconds more and it would have been over for him. He intends to ask for a rematch but Rocky decided to retire and spend time with his his wife, Adrian. However, he can't find a decent job because of poor education and a past criminal record, and ends up working in a meat packing company. It wasn't long until he was fired and decides to return to boxing, accepting the rematch with Apollo. Apollo thought that Rocky was just lucky that he survived the 15 rounds the last time. Apollo was also surprised by how tough and enduring Rocky is and now he knows to train harder the next time. However, so does Rocky. Apollo fails miserably and looses his championship just before he retires. Now, Rocky is the champion!

Rocky 3 is also very entertaining but probably just can't beat the first or second. Now Rocky appears undefeated after many victories and is enjoying his fame and glory with Adrian and his son. Rocky decides to announce that he is retiring when Mr. T. as Clubber Lang challenges him. Adrian is against it and Mickey informs Rocky that Clubber Lang is a killer compared to his recent fights but he disregards the warning. Before the match, Mickey suffers from a severe heart attack and Rocky couldn't get his mind off of Mickey and is defeated by Clubber. After the funeral, Rocky is back in the old gym when Apollo approaches him, offering him help in training for the rematch with Clubber. According to Apollo, Rocky has lost the "Eye of the Tiger" and he must work hard to regain it. After training and Rocky is about to fight at the rematch, Apollo lets Rocky borrow the shorts he wore on their first fight together.

I love the song "Eye of the Tiger." Sylvester asked the rock band, Survivor, to write this song just for this movie. It also became very popular and was also known as one of the best movie soundtracks. I also love how Apollo comes back into the story after his embarrassing defeat in the second movie and helps Rocky defeats Clubber. As always, Sly did great as Rocky and Mr. T. did an excellent job at portraying the ferocious Clubber and had that intense expression on his face throughout the whole movie.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a sophisticated spy film directed by Tomas Alfredson and is based on a novel by John Le Carre. 

British Intelligence is comprised of Control (John Hurt), George Smiley (Gary Oldman), Bill Haydon (Colin Firth), Toby Esterhase (David Dencik), Percy Alleline (Toby Jones), and Roy Bland (Ciaran Hinds). With the help of Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), Smiley must identify a Russian agent, referred to as a mole, among the senior figures in the British Intelligence service upon hearing a story from rogue agent Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy).

The way the plot unfolds seems more complex than Inception since it's nearly impossible to follow the layers of twists if you are not familiar with the names of each character. That includes first names, last names, nicknames, and aliases. 

Anyone who steps into the theater expecting car chases, explosions, and gunfights will be disappointed. This is a slow paced film that requires the audience to be constantly engaged and to speculate what will happen next. Although I have not completed the book or watched the television series, most people who have are more likely to enjoy this film since they have a greater understanding of the plot.

The cinematography is spectacular, incorporating a grainy look to match the Cold War setting. This is a very intriguing film with a strong performance by Gary Oldman.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

90% of movies made world-wide fail to capture the interest of their audience due to the same mistake made over and over again. It is so common to find movies that suffer from lack of suspense and weak plots. However, there are one out of thousands of movies that are composed of all the elements required in order to satisfy their audience throughout the whole 90 minutes. It takes a large amount of talent and experience to accomplish this challenging goal.