Tag Archives: movies

Captain America

The first Avenger has hit the big screen. Through a curious series of circumstances, I’ve already seen Captain America: The First Avenger. Twice.

Captain America has never been the most interesting character to me, but I love comic book movies. My initial expectations were solidly in the realm of “Entertainment”. I didn’t go in expecting a movie that captured the feeling of a time past and explained the origin story of the character so well that I am now even more excited for next year’s The Avengers movie. Yet that is what I left the theater with. Both times.

Fair warning: From here on out, there will be a discussion of the movie, which will most likely result in spoilers. Continue reading Captain America

Transformers 3

Action movies are my favorite. The only way they get better is if they feature fantastic aliens/science fiction premise. So a movie like Transformers 3 is right up my alley. And I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

Fair warning, from here on out, there will be real spoilers (not just hints) because I will talk about the movie.

Continue reading Transformers 3

Avatar: The Last Airbender

There are probably spoilers. Don’t read this if you haven’t seen the movie and want it to be as close to completely surprising as possible today.

If you like the Nickelodeon series, this movie will probably disappoint you.

I love the series for it’s color and humor and treatment of serious issues (war, death, loss, fate verses desires) in a way that engages the audience without minimizing the issues presented.

The movie failed at that. It was heavy handed and slow. I checked the time on my phone several times during the movie to see how much longer until it was over. The sad aspects, like Zuko being banished by his father, should have been sadder, and the funny aspects, like Katara teaching herself to waterbend, should have been funnier.

Deadpan is fine if the movie’s subject can be played flatly, but The Last Airbender is an action comedy. It needs life and discernible change in emotion to be engaging.

Aside from the flatness of the story and acting, I missed the color of the characters. I don’t mean in their actions, but in the series, the main characters are non-white. That was one of my favorite elements of the story, because for once, a science-fictiony story on TV was not dominated by whites. It’s a trap that most science fiction stories, even adaptations, fall into, and it’s detrimental to the genre. In the live action The Last Airbender, the characters become white, which diminishes the story. Many of the background characters and extras were non-white, but the main characters, with a few distinct exceptions, were white.

My nerd complaint is that the characters couldn’t pronounce their names, or Aang’s title of Avatar, correctly. The entire series the pronunciation follows Southern Californian pronunciation with the short a for Aang and Avatar. Sokka sounded like “sock-ah”. Every time anyone pronounced Aang or Avatar or Sokka in the movie, I had to think through who they were talking about. If the series had been an adaptation of an Anime, I could understand the change. But Avatar: The Last Airbender is a US series. If you’ve seen the end, you can definitely tell there.

The graphics were flat and more silly than interesting. And I missed following the character development of the series.

All in all, it was a movie. I didn’t expect it to be great, and it wasn’t. I wasn’t disappointed,  but I’m glad I caught an early show, which meant I only paid $6. I didn’t find much in the movie to recommend, but I wouldn’t say avoid it like the plague. My review boils down to “meh”.

If you’ve seen it, what did you think? I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks.

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Doorways and Meander

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phnL5WeSrvQ]

This is the trailer for the independent film a friend of mine, Mo Shirazi, wrote, filmed, and directed. I haven’t seen Doorways and Meander in this incarnation, but you can come and see it with me if you happen to be in the Pomona, CA, area July 11, around 7pm. He’s screening it for free at dbs256 Gallery Wine Bar.

So if you’re in the area and want to check out a movie in its early stages, come and hang out there! I’ll be posting my thoughts after the screening, and I’m looking forward to what other people think!

Bookmark Doorways and Meander

Alice in Wonderland

I went to see Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton this morning. The short version of what I’m going to say is this: I LOVED IT.

If you decide you want to know why, keep reading, but be warned, there will be spoilers.

Lewis Carroll’s stories of Alice and her adventures through the looking glass is one of my favorites. I never liked it when I was small, because I only understood the parts of the story that scared me and could not understand the humor. But once I began really studying literature and learning the way the English language shines brightest when the speaker/writer is playing, I feel in love with Alice in Wonderland.

Tim Burton’s envisioning of Alice and all of Wonderland embodies the playfulness of the story Carroll wrote out.

The story of the movie is not either book, while incorporating the best parts of each. The “Jabberwocky” poem runs throughout the movie, along with the extended chess match. And all of my favorite characters get extended roles in Burton’s film. I loved spending more time with the Mad Hatter and the Doormouse and the Cheshire Cat.

One of the best elements of the film was the sympathetic characterization of some of the more fearsome creatures. I never realized I could learn to love a furious Bandersnatch, or see the Queen of Hearts constant yelling as a cover for deep hurt.

Equally as intriguing was the undercurrent of unease throughout Wonderland, and not just in response to the Queen of Hearts. The White Queen maybe the true ruler, but there is something eerie in her court. It could be the distance required by royalty, or the overwhelming whiteness of her court and people. I’m sure these ideas will become clearer when I own the DVD and can watch it repeatedly.

What I walked out of the movie with was an appreciation of how stories reflect their time. One of the MA classes talked about what keeps Alice going and what saves her time and again in her Wonderland trials. Our conclusion was that Alice’s manners and ability to be proper, regardless of the circumstances or situations, make her able to return to her home.

Burton’s film has a less proper Alice, but she doesn’t need to be proper to make it home here. In 2010, Alice needs, more than anything else, to be herself and nothing else. But how Burton differentiates Alice’s need to be wholly herself from being independent of her companions. In the end, Alice relies on her whole being, but she can only take the necessary steps because she is surrounded by companions, particularly the Mad Hatter, who encourage her. Each of her companions pushes her in small and not so small ways to be more her, while she in turns encourages them to be more completely who they are.

I loved following Alice on her re-discovery of herself, and I loved how the movie ended. I completely enjoyed the new places Burton and the cast took such a familiar story.

These are my gushing thoughts on Tim Burton’s re-telling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But I know my thoughts won’t be anyone else’s.

So what did you think of the movie?

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“We Are Wizards”

The Christian Science Monitor has a blog post from Marjorie Kehe about a new documentary on the world of Harry Potter fans called “We Are Wizards.” She says in the introduction:

When it comes to Harry Potter enthusiasts, it’s a wacky world out there. Parents, of course, want their kids to learn to love to read. But could it really be a good thing for anyone to obsess over any books the way some young readers do over Harry Potter? This is a question you may find yourself asking as you watch “We Are Wizards,” Josh Koury’s documentary film released in theaters last week about some of Harry Potter’s more, well, let’s say “dedicated” fans.

I’ll be honest – I’m excited for this. I enjoy documentaries, and I have found that the ones that follow people who are completely devoted to fantasy worlds are fantastic. I hope it’s as good as “Trekkies” because that will only make the Harry Potter fan-world even better, especially for Harry Potter scholars.