241st Movie Review: In Time [MMM Day 6]

A film with a brilliant concept dragged down by poor filmmaking

To consider “In Time” as excellent is wrong. But to say that its concept was awesome is an understatement. This film had an amazing concept that showed lots of promise early on, but as time passed it lost its momentum thanks to Writer/Director Andrew Niccol’s poor and inefficient execution.

The film is set in the future when humans have discovered the ability to stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year. Once they reach that certain age, the timer on their arms start, and people eventually start working for more time. In the ghetto, prices are rising non-stop, which forces Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) to live by the day. Later on, he finds himself accused of murder and on a run with a hostage, the daughter of a wealthy man belonging to a society where time is merely change, and if they wanted, they could live forever.

While I found the idea of the movie great, I can’t help but think of the gaping plotholes surrounding the film. Instead of giving us a reason as to how time became money, Niccol simply makes it a given. It’s sad because aside from that the movie started out very well, instantly showing us what we should expect in the next scenes.

But the film failed to capitalize its resources and dragged all the way after a good 60 minutes. After that it’s basically fillers until we get to the climax which wasn’t all that exhilarating. Good thing the movie is backed by a talented cast led by Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried (who plays Sylvia Weis), and Olivia Wilde (Rachel Salas). To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of Timberlake when he was performing. It was only until he put up a show in “The Social Network” that I began to think that his career was headed in the right direction. He makes the most out of what he’s given and I can say he fits the role of the leading man very well. As for Seyfried and Wilde, both bring their own charm to the screen but neither surpassed my expectations. Cilian Murphy (Timekeeper Raymond) and Alex Pettyfer (Fortis) looked awkward though, and I may have felt that Pettyfer is already being typecast.

Overall the film is intriguing, but not without many flaws. If you want to waste time or money, then why don’t you check this movie out? Don’t be surprised if you feel a little bored by the end though, as that’s probably the result of lazy filmmaking.

GRADE: B

I Agreed With the MINORITY

Rotten Tomatoes: 36% Fresh, 5.3/10 Critic Rating

Internet Movie Database: 6.4/10 User Rating

Metacritic: 55/100

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240th Movie Review: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 [MMM Day 5]

A mere continuation of a mediocre story.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 is an outrageously fast-paced movie. The story moves too fast that even the girls move on too quickly. Nevertheless, this guilty pleasure still has some good stuff in it.

From Rotten Tomatoes:

The 2008 sequel to the female buddy film constitutes an adaptation of Ann Brashares’ novel Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood. Like the premier installment, this picture explores the seriocomic events that unfold one summer in the lives of four temporarily estranged friends as an extremely special pair of jeans works its way from one girl to the next. In one subplot, Lena (Alexis Bledel) travels to Providence, RI, and enrolls in a painting course; in another, Bridget (Blake Lively) embarks on an archaeological excavation in Greece; in a third, Carmen (America Ferrera) works on the backstage crew for a Vermont-based theater festival; and in the fourth, Tibby remains in New York and enrolls in summer courses. Sanaa Hamri, best
known for her Prince and Mariah Carey music videos, directs.

Let me rank the storylines from best to worst. My favorite was Carmen’s. Although it wasn’t believable (now that I think about it…this IS a movie), it was the one that was the most interesting in my opinion. Also, America Ferrera delivered a great performance that the others just couldn’t match. Second is Lena’s story. The dilemma of finding the person you really love isn’t new or anything, but her greek roots add a bit of a twist (I didn’t want to admit this, but her cute sister was a big reason for my decision). In third place is Bridget’s, albeit her character is so unrealistic (Are you really supposed to hold a fossil like that?) it’s verging on stupidity. My least fave was Tibby’s, not that it was bad or unreal. In fact, it’s the most realistic out of the lot, but it was bland and unappealing.

My opinion clearly shows how the most “truthful” things don’t really interest people. We want to be distracted by the illusion of the theatrical performance so that we could get away from reality. Life could become so boring
to the point that you’ll have to watch something you usually don’t. That’s why I’m not afraid to tell the world that
I watch movies like these. It’s a guilty pleasure and no doubt other straight males have watched this and found it at least bearable to watch.

This sequel isn’t spectacular, just like its predecessor. But if you feel a little bored and are up for a squeaky clean movie starring four young budding actresses, try this one out. But in my opinion one movie’s enough, as you might get tired of watching two very similar films.

GRADE: C+

I Agreed With The MAJORITY

Rotten Tomatoes: 65% Fresh, 6.0/10 Critic Rating

Internet Movie Database: 6.1/10 User Rating

Metacritic: 63/100

239th Movie Review: The Three Musketeers [MMM Day 4]

A Surprisingly Okay Adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ Swashbuckler

Paul W.S. Anderson’s attempt to revive the burnt out franchise ended up being a film with an identity crisis. To call the movie “The Three Musketeers” is more of an attempt to get it recognized, because just so you know there are FOUR Musketeers in this movie, and none of them were the focus of this film.

To be fair, Anderson has never actually made a “FRESH” film according to RottenTomatoes, but seeing the film I could already conclude that this is nearly identical from what the previous adaptations looked like (Check the 1993 version). But despite the brainless plot or the unrealistic (but beautiful) set pieces, this movie delivers – when it comes to swashbuckling action that is.

To prevent you from being spoiled too much, here’s a short summary of the movie provided by Summit
Entertainment:

“The hot-headed young D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) joins forces with three rogue Musketeers Athos, Aramis and Porthos (Matthew MacFadyen, Luke Evans and Ray Stevenson) in this reboot of Alexandre Dumas’ story. They must stop the evil Richlieu (Christoph Waltz) and face off with Buckingham (Orlando Bloom) and the treacherous Milady (Milla Jovovich). The action adventure is given a state of the art update in 3-D.”

Just so you know, I didn’t watch it in 3D, which was actually a smart choice because I couldn’t spot any scene
where they could add in substantial 3D effects that would’ve made the action more exhilarating. There is an
exception though: the opening scene is probably one of the best I’ve seen so far this year. It contains a good
introduction of what’s going on in Europe, and it ends where all the action begins.

Right after that is the only time where the actual “Three Musketeers” is put into the spotlight. We see Athos being betrayed by Milady (Jovovich) after aiding them in their mission. Cut scene. Moments later it feels like you’re looking at the story of D’Artagnan (Lerman), the cocky, brave, yet foolish son of a poor and retired musketeer. He leaves his home and travels to Paris to find the trio of musketeers and join them in whatever they are asked to do. Early on, he catches the eye of a princess from the French Palace (Gabriella Wilde), a stunning and fresh beauty whom I laid my eyes on a lot during her short stint in the movie. While I never thought of her acting as great, at least I could say that she’ll be on my radar the next time she shows up in a movie.

Out of all the characters in the film, only three were noteworthy: Cardinal Richlieu (Waltz), Milady (Jovovich), and D’Artagnan (Lerman). The latter shined all throughout, stealing the thunder of the other three Musketeers. I could say the same to Jovovich and Richlieu, though only mildly. Outside of the acting  I only have one word to describe everything else – RIDICULOUS. And that’s either good or bad depending on your opinion.

Overall, the Three Musketeers of 2011 is a fun film, albeit dumb and has lots of plotholes. But I hoped that they marketed the movie first and focused on the story before leaving us with an inconclusive story and a promising cliffhanger. With a disappointing $8.7M opening weekend, I guess it’s safe to say that this franchise will rest for a long while.

GRADE: B-

I Agreed With The MINORITY

Rotten Tomatoes: 26% Fresh, 3.9/10 Critic Rating

Internet Movie Database: 6.0/10 User Rating

Metacritic: 35/100

237th Movie Review: Happy Feet (2006) [MMM Day 2]

Cute characters and catchy musical numbers save this flawed movie

I became a big fan of animated movies ever since Pixar began working their magic. They set the bar high and forced other studios to step up just to catch up to them. In 2006, The guys over at Warner Brothers teamed up with George Miller (Creator of Babe) to conjure an animated spectacle that could appeal to everybody. They made Happy Feet. And not only was it a box office success, it was an Oscar winner too!

After I saw it, I thought it was an above-average movie filled with great characters, catchy tunes and has a lot of heart. But at the same time it had a lot of things that I didn’t enjoy or appreciate at all.

The movie is set in the world of the emperor penguins, where a penguin named Mumble is born without the ability to sing a romantic song called a “Heartsong” that will eventually attract his future mate, after his father Memphis accidentally dropped him while inside his egg during incubation period. Instead, Mumble possessed a unique ability to tap dance. Although his skill is fantastic, his flock regards him as an outcast and ignores him. However, when he accidentally discovers the source of the scarcity of his flocks’ food, Mumble takes it to himself to save his home from this problem. Along the way, he meets new friends from different places, accepting him for what he is, and allows them to tag along the journey and aid him through tough times.
From start to finish, it is unequivocal that this film is an animated musical. It’s suitable for all ages and it could even subtly cause people in the theatre or at their homes to tag along with Mumble’s tap dance. This makes the film highly enjoyable and makes it extra unique compared to other animated movies. The story was okay but I believe that they could’ve made it better by extending the movie a bit longer with a few extra dialogues here and there.

(SPOILER ALERT!)

The biggest flaw of the movie is the fact that it felt crammed at the latter half. We were given plenty of time to get to know more about Mumble’s beginnings and his encounter with the five Amigos, but the other parts felt too short and a little rushed. In my opinion the film should’ve showed exaclty how he returned to his homeland. I also felt that the ending was a bit lacking. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was over until the credits rolled.

I was expecting more from an Oscar Winner for Best Animation, but it left me unamazed. The characters were cute and all, and they did have a cool concepts, and regardless if you liked the story, you’ll end up loving them penguins anyway. But the tendency of the film to skip some core elements made me think that what I saw was only half of a movie. But who wouldn’t want to love penguins, right? And besides, Robin Williams, Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving and the rest of the voice actors did a very good job.

So in the end, the good parts of the movie still outweighed the negative ones. But did it deserve to win an Oscar? Not really. But hey, what’s done is done. If you still haven’t seen this movie, then I guess it time for you to do so. It’s an awesome film which can get a bigger reaction from groups.

GRADE: B-

I Agreed With the MAJORITY

Rotten Tomatoes: 74% Fresh

Internet Movie Database: 6.6/10 User Rating

Metacritic: 77/100

Box Office Results: October 21-23, 2011 (Paranormal 3 Breaks Records!)

Hey guys! MEGA MOVIE MARATHON has already begun! Have you seen my review for Ninja Assassin already? What did you think? Anyway, I’m back with the box office results after a month-long hiatus. It’s the semestral break and I finally have more time for my blog! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to send in my box office predictions for the week, so I guess I’ll just give you the results.

Number One Movie Predicted Correctly: 0 Weeks in a Row (but I expected PA3 to win)

Number of Times I Nailed the Top 7: 5

1.) PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 – Not only did this movie hit number one and end the box office drought of the fall season, it also broke THREE different records. It now holds the record for the largest opening weekend ever for a horror movie, for the found footage genre and for the month of October. Not bad for a third outing eh? Oh, and it already earned TEN TIMES ITS ESTIMATED BUDGET. Now that’s the financial success story of the year!

Actual Gross: $54.0M

Total Gross: $54.0M

 

2.) Real Steel – People have been giving mixed reviews for this one, to the point that its rating over at Rotten Tomatoes have been fluctuating from Fresh to Rotten for the past few days. But clearly word-of-mouth has been great because it only dropped 30% in its third weekend.

Actual Gross: $11.3M

Total Gross: $67.2M

 

3.) Footloose – Another movie with a strong hold. But both failed to get big numbers in their respective opening weekends so I guess it’s only considered as a consolation if they hold well.

Actual Gross: $10.8M

Total Gross: $30.9M

4.) THE THREE MUSKETEERS – Of course, a great box office weekend wouldn’t be complete without a bust or a bomb. In this case, this film fits the role as the swashbuckling film which stars Orlando Bloom, Milla Jovovich and Logan Lermann failed to click with the audiences with a paltry $8.8M, which is even lower than the Summit Entertainment’s conservative expectations.

Actual Gross: $8.8M

Total Gross: $8.8M

 

5.) The Ides Of March – It’s not much of a financial success, and its reviews aren’t glowing, but I can say that this movie has achieved what was expected of it.

Actual Gross: $4.9M

Total Gross: $29.1M

 

6.) Dolphin Tale – Five weeks and it’s still in the top 7.

Actual Gross: $4.2M

Total Gross: $64.4M

 

7.) Moneyball – Brad Pitt managed to fend off Rowan Atkinson’s Johnny English Reborn from entering the top seven. The big difference between the two is that this one opened five weeks ago, and it still won.

Actual Gross: $4.0M

Total Gross: $63.7M

 

TOTAL SCORE: N/A

Total Weekend Gross: $110M, down $9M from the same weekend last year

236th Movie Review: Ninja Assassin (2009) [MMM Day 1]

Good mix of action, revenge, gore, and politics; but just like a ninja, it lacks heart

I guess Assassins really don’t speak that much. Rain’s character barely did anything in the first half of the movie except show off his ninja skills in several exhibitions in different time frames (Come to think of it, his teenage self looks like Ryan Higa). But anyway, let’s take one step back and talk about what exactly happened.

Continue reading “236th Movie Review: Ninja Assassin (2009) [MMM Day 1]”