January 2010

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [official site] Watched in 720p HD :)

LIMERICK REVIEW: They once were all just characters in books:
Heroes, villains, charlatans, and crooks.
But then there were the silvertongues,
Who breathed REAL life into their lungs.
And if they ever told anyone, they’d just get strange looks.

HAIKU REVIEW: Fiction characters
should prob’ly just stay that way…
They’re often ruthless.

PEOPLE: From director Iain Softley (K-PAX, Hackers), based on the book by Cornelia Funke. With Brendan Fraser (The Mummy, Journey To The Center Of The Earth), Sienna Guillory (aka Valentine from Resident Evil:Apocalypse), child actor Eliza Bennett, and Paul Bettany (Jarvis from Iron Man, Silas from The Da Vinci Code), Andy Serkis (Gollum from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Clueless). And yes, that’s Jennifer Connelly in the itty-bitty role of Roxanne (the wife of Dustfinger). Which makes sense, since she’s the actor’s wife in real life (!).

The book is recent — 2003. The author actually had Brendan Fraser in mind when she wrote the book. The studios had to cave to her demand :)

QUIRKS: “Since the dawn of time, storytellers have enchanted audiences with their words. But there is an even rarer gift. There are those, who by reading out loud, can bring characters to life. Out of books and into our world. Most of these Silvertongues, as they are known, prefer to keep their skills a secret. But some do not even know this gift is theirs, until it is too late.” Expect to see characters out of books come to life. Not as many as you’d like — they’re all from the book Inkheart, except Farid who is from Ali Baba & His 40 Thieves, and Toto from The Wizard Of Oz. This is a fantasy — but one that happens in our normal, non-fantastic reality. Which makes it more interesting than most fantasies.

VISUALS: As fantasy movies go, the visual level here is really low. It takes place in *our* reality. Other than the finale, and some fire play, there’s barely anything unrealistic in this fantasy. Which is in and of itself a bit unusual for a fantasy movie.

BAD STUFF: Nothing, really… But it is rated PG.

CONCLUSION: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10. A solid fantasy movie. Good stuff! Not as cliche or as predictable as most fantasy movies. If this was edgier and more intense, it could go on to get 5/5 stars. But it’s kind of a kid’s story in some ways, so it can only be so good.

RECOMMENDATION: Writers might find this interesting due to the characters-coming-alive angle. But anyone who likes fantasy movies would probably like this.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Well… Cool World had the cartoon characters crossing over into the real world… (more…)

  • The two things Clinton had going for him were: No bullshit GROUND wars [he still had his own pet war, though], and reducing our national debt the most any president has done during the 1960s.

    But it looks like today's Democrats have made sure to undo all of that. (Actually, Bush already did that, so this is even worse..)

    WE DON'T HAVE MAGIC MONEY. Did they learn nothing from the bailout? A huge debt will destroy our country. It's already started happening. The dollar is dropping. Nations are starting to trade in other currency. We can't just keep spending money that we don't have.

    I'm sure the liberal cult of Obama is going to talk about how great this is. Short-term thinking for optimistic idealists who think this country is somehow going to go in a better route.

    News flash: Every 5 year period, this country gets worse and worse. I'm starting to think the economy peaked in the 1950s, and freedom peaked in the 1970s, and it's only downhill from here.


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

QUIRKS: Animated post-apocalyptic fantasy. This would almost be a steampunk movie, but it seems to happen after the 1950s rather than in the 1850s. But there is still a definite, modernized steampunk feel to it, what with the way everything in the movie is a cobbled together, non-digital machine.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Mankind causes self to go extinct; remaining soul of last human mostly dies.

PEOPLE: Produced by Tim Burton.

Voice actors include Christopher Plummer as #1 (Charles Muntz in Up, General Chang in Star Trek 6, 12 Monkeys, Gandahar, Dreamscape National Treasure, Wolf), Martin Landau as #2 (Scorpion in the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon, Mission Impossible, Ed Wood), John C. Reilly as #5 (Step Brothers, Dr. Steve Brule from Tim And Eric Awesome Show Great Job, Walk Hard:The Dewey Cox Story, The Aviator), Crispin Glover as #6 (Grendel from Beowulf, The People Vs. Larry Flynt, Wild At Heart, Twister, Friday The 13th 4), Jennifer Connelly as #7 (Inkheart, Requiem For A Dream, A Beautiful Mind), Fred Tatasciore as #8 (Beowulf, Samuel L. Jackson in Team America:World Police, Hulk in Hulk Vs. Wolverine/Thor, goblin voices in The Spiderwick Chronicles, William Shatner in 8 eps of Robot Chicken, Family Guy, Beast in Wolverine & The X-Men), and Elijah Wood as #9 (Frodo from Lord Of The Rings, Sin City, The Faculty).

VISUALS: Incredible cgi animation. Incredible detail. A beautifully bleak post-apocalyptic world. Looks GREAT in HD! This is the 2nd animated film released by Focus Features, after Coraline.

MORALS: Sometimes it’s better for the greater good if you take bigger risks. Don’t be a coward. I’m talking to you, 1.

BAD STUFF: This movie is too short. Things fly by too fast. The great experience is over too soon. They could have spent more time developing the characters and the backstory. On the other hand, part of the fun was guessing what the backstory was… But the lack of depth caused by these flaws keeps this movie from realizing its true potential as a 5-star fantasy adventure movie.

CONCLUSION: A great animated fantasy adventure — but a bit rushed. They should have developed the story more and made it longer. This flaw kept it from being a 5-star movie.

Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10. It really deserves 5 stars, but it was simply over too fast!
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.

Parthena: Netflix: 4/5 stars. “I really liked it, I just think if they’d filled in a bit more detail it would have made my rating go up to 5. :) At the same time, maybe leaving a bit of mystery makes the movie more impactful/haunting?” I was wondering that myself. “In hindsight, the movie was a bit more depressing than I’d originally felt last night. Like…the reason I hadn’t been as sad when the [highlight for spoilers] dolls were absorbed by the machine is that I thought when the souls escaped, they’d re-animate the doll bodies and they’d continue to be basically immortal. What I didn’t expect was that the souls would simply leave the machine and just…ascend to Heaven, or wherever. So there’s only like 3-4 of the pieces of humanity left… Brutal!”

The native public rating for this movie is Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (3.7/5 stars for people who rate like me), IMDB: 7.1/10.

RECOMMENDATION: Animation and fantasy lovers must see this!

MOVIE QUOTE: #6: The source! The source! Go back… to the source.

COINCIDENCES: (Terminator 4:Salvation, 9) 2 movies in a week where the good guys wanted to destroy the bad-guy robot-factory, but were split into 2 factions: Those who wanted to blow it up, and those who wanted to go in and save those who were imprisoned.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Christian loved it. (more…)

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