VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Imaginaerum (2012)

Clio & Carolyn: 2.8/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Native ratings: 5.7/10 IMDB. Not available on Netflix.

This will be the 2nd time we watch a movie based on a concept album we’ve never listened to, performed by a band we’ve never listened to. The last one was Marillion:Brave, by Richard Stanley, director of the movie Hardware (1990). This one is based on an album by the Finnish metal band, NightWish. We mostly watched it for the visuals, which were pretty cool, but we were not as impressed as we were hoping.

The story was a bit lacking. The sound mix was surprisingly bad (though that is a distribution problem). It was overly-dramatic and kind of full of itself. But of course, it’s a video for an album, and music videos are sorta-kinda SUPPOSED to be like that — all grandiose and shit. So I might be faulting the genre for its own self-definition here. It also got a lot less exciting (and a lot more depressing) near the end. The acting wasn’t the greatest, but this also wasn’t a movie with very much acting in it.

In the end, this was style over substance. Some pretty awesome visuals. Definitely a great movie to watch — not as great to listen to, or think about. But visually, it was an 8/10.

Directed by: Stobe Harju (who directed Nightwish’s “The Islander” music video).
Written by: Stobe Harju & Mikko Rautalahti (Alan Wake video game), and Richard Jackson.
Story written by Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish songwriter and band member) & Stobe Harju.

Starring Marianne Farley (Undressed, 2001: A Space Travesty, 6 eps of Vampire High) as Gem Whitman.
Quinn Lord (young boy in The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus–is he now typecast to only be in movies with Imaginae?rium in their title?, 2 eps of Smallville) as Tom Whitman – age 10.
Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish song writer and band member) as Tom Whitman – age 47.
Francis X. McCarthy (BASEketball, 7 eps of Melrose Place, 4 eps of the original 21 Jump Street, Alien Nation, 2 eps of The Greatest American Hero, 1 ep of Smallville, 1 ep of Cheers, 1 ep of ALF, 1 ep of The A-Team, 1 ep of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose) as Tom Whitman – age 70.
Joanna Noyes (Grandma Thora Read in Arthur) as Ann – age 73.
Anette Olzon (Nightwish band member) as Ann.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1959409/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: CARTOONS: REVIEW: The Lorax (2012)

Clio: 2.8/5 stars, 5.4/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 5.6/10.
Native ratings: 4.1/5 stars Netflix, 6.3/10 IMDB.

Based on the Dr. Suess book. Very generic. Too many songs. It’d probably be more enjoyable for a young kid, but didn’t have nearly as much to offer to adults.

Worth it to be able to visually explore a CGI instance of a Seuss-inspired world. For a lot of these Seuss movies, that’s really the sole point: Seeing what it looks like a grander scale.

Worth it, but I’d like more.

Directed by:
Chris Renaud (Despicable Me) and Kyle Balda.
written by: Ken Daurio (Despicable Me, Horton Hears A Who, College Road Trip, The Santa Clause 2).

Starring Danny DeVito (Taxi, Penguin in Batman Returns, Twins, The War Of The Roses, Man On The Moon, Mars Attacks!, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) as The Lorax.
Ed Helms (Andy Bernard in The Office, The Hangover movies, 3 eps of Arrested Development, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay) as The Once-ler.
Zac Efron (Anakin Skywalker in Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III, 17 Again, High School Musical, 1 ep of Firefly) as Ted.
Taylor Swift (the singer) as Audrey.
Betty White as Grammy Norma.
Rob Riggle (P.O.T.N. in NTSF:SD:SUV, 4 eps of American Dad, The Hangover, Step Brothers, Human Giant, Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby) as Mr. O’Hare.
Jenny Slate (2 eps of Bob’s Burgers, 1 ep of Ugly Americans, Saturday Night Live) as Ted’s Mom.
Nasim Pedrad (87 eps of Saturday Night Live, The Dictator, 7 eps of Allen Gregory) as Once-ler’s Mom.
Elmarie Wendel (Mrs. Dubcek in 3rd Rock From The Sun, 1 ep of American Dad, 5 eps of General Hospital) as Aunt Grizelda.
Danny Cooksey (5 eps of Invader Zim, Kung Fu Panda, 2 eps of G.I. Joe Renegades, Tiny Toon Adventures, Terminator 2, Static Shock, Dave The Barbarian) as Brett / Chet.
Stephen Tobolowsky (Bob Bishop in Heroes, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Boxboarders!, Buried) as Uncle Ubb.
Chris Renaud (he’s the director of The Lorax, Despicable Me) as Forest Animals.

 

Christie: Agreed. Liked it, but too many songs.

 

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1482459/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Wrong (2012)

Clio: 2.4/5 stars, 5.0/10.
Carolyn: 2.4/5 stars, 5.0/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 6.1/10 IMDB.
From the director of Rubber.

It was definitely weird and surreal… But it didn’t go anywhere. As some have complained, it was like it was weird just for the sake of being weird, with no real point. I fell asleep during this just like with Rubber. It’s like the movie didn’t take enough stock in itself to remain interesting beyond a superficial “yeah, that is weird” level.

As I watched it, I was thinking, “This is better than Rubber”. Then I looked at the ratings. I wonder why I thought this felt better? It might have simply been more interesting, and made more sense. But in the end, Rubber’s….rubber-ness….might have been what saved it.

Quoth Carolyn, “I think I liked Rubber better because at least that had a murdering tire…”

And that’s not saying much.

I should have trusted myself the first two times I decided not to obtain this movie… Basically, I’m avoiding Quentin Dupieux from now on.

Jack Plotnick (Xandir in Drawn Together, an accountant in Rubber) as Dolph Springer.
Eric Judor (he’s been in a bunch of french movies) as Victor, the gardener.
Alexis Dziena (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) as Emma, the pizza girl.
Steve Little (Identity Thief, Peppermint Butler in Adventure Time, Dr. Barber in The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack) as Detective Ronnie. We had just seen him in Identity Thief. He’s much less creepy when he’s not constantly recommending surgery as a solution for every possible problem.
William Fichtner (Date Night, The Dark Knight, Ken Rosenberg in Grand Theft Auto, Blades Of Glory, Equilibrium, Endsville, Armageddon, Black Hawk Down, Go, Strange Days) as Master Chang.
Regan Burns (Halfway Home, 1 ep of Weeds) as Mike, the neighbor who hates running.
Arden Myrin (Michael & Michael Have Issues, MADtv, What Women Want, 1 ep of Delocated) as Boss Gabrielle. (We have her mixed up with someone and are going crazy trying to figure out who. She definitely reminds me of Dina Waters, but still… There’s someone in a movie we just watched that reminds me of these two actresses, but isn’t either one of them.)

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1901040/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Django Unchained (2012)

Clio: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Native ratings: 4.1/5 stars Netflix, 8.6/10 IMDB (Top 250: #44).

I’m not going to write a long review for this one. Suffice to say, Quentin Tarantino ALWAYS delivers (except Jackie Brown, which was still good, but technically a disappointment).

This movie does for white-on-black slavery in the mid-1800s what Inglorious Basterds did for German-on-jew genocide in the mid-1900s. Ultraviolent fan-service at its best.

My only complaint was the rap song. Everything was so mid-1800s. Hearing a modern song in the middle of that was a bit jarring. But I also understand it’s a way to imprint the movie as being made in the present.

Jamie Foxx has come so far since In Living Color! I’m so glad Will Smith passed on this! And Samuel J. Jackson has never played a character with as little dignity as his character in this movie. Leonardo DiCaprio was good, too (of course). I wish I’d noticed Russ Tamblyn (the professor from Twin Peaks)! It’s also funny that Jonah Hill was in this (but only with a bag over his head). Tarantino movies always have random hilarity in them, so it makes sense that Hill would have a place in one.

Wilhelm scream? Yes.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1853728/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012)

Clio: 3.2/5 stars, 7.8/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 4.0/5 stars Netflix, 8.1/10 IMDB (top 250: #238).

Good, but a bit depressing. It definitely made me remember high school, and how it felt to be in high school. Despite having the unrealistic aspects most high school movies have (like having actors older than their characters), this had a lot of realism in terms of depicting the emotional feeling of being trapped in high school life.  There were definitely strong emotions and impressions in this movie.

However, this movie is not as poignant as it thinks it is. Cynically, I view it as a slice of life with an “enjoy life” message. SOME coming-of-age, SOME dealing with serious issues. It was still done very well, and was still thought-provoking. I can see why IMDB has this in the top 250 movies, though it wouldn’t be in my personal top 250, and I expect it to fall out of the top 250 once it stops being “new”.It did have good music.

But still, as a cynic, the most I really get out of it is, “Shit happens. Live your life in a way that makes you happy anyway.” Which I already knew… As a nerd coming-of-age fantasy, I’d rather see something funny like The New Guy. And other sadnesses of this movie are better portrayed in Gregg Araki‘s Mysterious Skin.

I guess this is why I generally prefer comedies. Those dramatic movies that try to teach a lesson? I’m old enough to know those lessons by now. It gets repetitive. Laughing never gets repetitive.

Still — the nostalgia value was tangible. I’d still recommend this movie. I’m sure hipsters freaking love it.

Annoying shit: Censorship of original characters that were chain smokers. We can show people standing on the back of a truck going down the highway — very risky and endangernig to others — but not people smoking? (Only 50% of smokers die from smoking, and they don’t generally cause car accidents when that happens.)

Cool shit: Rocky Horror Picture Show being involved in the plot!

Written & Directed by Stephen Chbosky, who also wrote the book and the screenplay. When the hell does THAT ever happen?!?! Nice to see the original creators being honored for once.

Logan Lerman (Percy in Percy Jackson & the Olympians, The Three Musketeers, Gamer, The Number 23, What Women Want) as Charlie.
Dylan McDermott (Jersey Girl, Steel Magnolias) as Father.
Kate Walsh (Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie) as Mother.
Johnny Simmons (the new 21 Jump Street, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Jennifer’s Body) as Brad.
Nina Dobrev (Repo! The Genetic Opera) as Candace.
Nicholas Braun (we haven’t seen his stuff) as Ponytail Derek.
Ezra Miller (we haven’t seen his stuff) as Patrick.
Tom Savini (Django Unchained, 1 ep of Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1, Zack and Miri Make A Porno, Planet Terror, Grindhouse, Dawn Of The Dead, Creepshow, and original Dawn Of The Dead) as Mr. Callahan.
Paul Rudd as Mr. Anderson.
Emma Watson (Hermione in the Harry Potter movies) as Sam.
Melanie Lynskey (Detroit Rock City, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, Becky in The Life & Times Of Tim, The Informant!, Coyote Ugly, But I’m A Cheerleader) as Aunt Helen.
Mae Whitman (Ann Veal in Arrested Development, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, April O’Neil in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012 cartoon, Wonder Girl in Young Justice, Annaleigh Quagmire in 9 eps of Family Guy, Katara in Avatar:The Last Airbender, Little Suzy in Johnny Bravo) as Mary Elizabeth.
Reece Thompson (we haven’t seen his stuff) as Craig.
Joan Cusack (Jessie in Toy Story, Grosse Pointe Blank) as Dr. Burton.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1659337/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Unicorn City (2012)

Clio: 4.4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, 5.5/10 IMDB.

“You are who you pretend to be.”

Sadly, Carolyn didn’t like this one as much as me, despite also being a gamer herself.  This movie certainly doesn’t REQUIRE any knowledge of Dungeons & Dragons, or fantasy roleplaying……… But it helps!

This is basically a comedy movie about a guy with a blank resume who tries to get a job with a gaming company by creating a real-life utopia for gamers in the middle of some woods. He does this because his DungeonMaster is a real dick, and wanted to start his own guild. Take tabletop gamging to the next level – LARP’ing.

Sounds geeky? It is.

Now throw in a romantic subplot – the SUPER-hot Jaclyn Hales is crushing on the main character, and he’s never really looked at her as a real woman before. She is the typical geek-girl role in a movie: A super-hot chick with her hair up and wearing some glasses. As if that’s going to fool us into thinking she’s not hot. I’m sorry, but it’s impossible for this girl to not be hot. Check her out yourself: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1213771008/nm4076403

This was a fun movie. It has a unique plot, a great deal of comedy, tons of characters (though only 2 are developed past 2 dimensions), enough guy-girl interest to keep the romantically-inclined entertained, and enough wackiness to keep it memorable.

Cast-wise, this movie is mostly full of bit players, but the main bad guy is played by Jon Gries, aka Uncle Rico from the great Napoleon Dynamite movie, and the mediocre Napoleon Dynamite animated series.

Multiple actors from this movie are in some endeavor called Gary The Unicorn. I can’t view this as coincidence.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1734589/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Rock Of Ages (2012)

Clio: 2.6/5 stars, 5.4/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Native ratings: 3.0/5 stars Netflix, 5.8/10 IMDB.

Wow! Carolyn and me rating 2.0/5 stars apart from each other (Netflix), and 2.2/10 apart from each other (IMDB). I think that is a top-1% disagreement level; we’re never this far off from each other!

This movie actually failed to keep me engaged. The plot was so thin that once it became “just people singing songs” with 5 minutes of song to every 30 seconds of plot, I began to grow bored, which then made me tired, which made me fall asleep, which made me have to take a break to wake up just to get through the movie.

A musical needs at least some plot. Not a huge amount. Just something more tangible than what we had here. Repo:The Genetic Opera, Sweeney Todd, Nightmare Before Christmas, the South Park movie, Rocky Horror Picture Show. All of these have more engaging plots. Yes, even Rocky Horror! In the end this was just too random, I didn’t care about the characters enough to care about the movie, and it started to feel like an extended music video of old songs sung by celebrities instead of the original artists. I was waiting for it to be over, and was happy when it was.

Any given moment was kinda awesome, and Tom Cruise was great… The whole cast was… But it was just too devoid of story for me. It was too much. Maybe I would have enjoyed a shorter version (I did watch the extended version, after all). It’s totally out of character for me to say that, though.

Maybe on a different night, with a different mood and body chemistry, I would have enjoyed this more. Dunno if I’ll ever be able to make myself try it again, though. Life’s too short.

Carolyn adds: I enjoyed this movie.  I didn’t love it quite as much as Take Me Home Tonight, but I had fun watching it… They did have a lot of songs, and barely any plot, but it was more the ride than the story for me, I guess.

My mom adds: I saw this on an airplane, a captive audience. I must admit that I lean towards Clio‘s opinion.

Parthena, who recommended this to us (but didn’t rate it high?!) adds:  I would rate this 3/5 stars myself! For all the reasons you listed. Very loose plot…like they couldn’t decide which story to focus on. But some parts made me laugh.

 

People-wise:
Co-written by the writer of Tropic Thunder & Iron Man 2.
The main girl is Julianne Hough (uncredited role in Harry Potter 1, Footloose remake).
Diego Boneta (Mean Girls 2)
Russell Brand (Despicable Me, Get Him To The Greek, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, St. Trinian’s)
Alec Baldwin (Dr. Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat, 5 episodes of Clerks-TAS, Beetlejuice)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcolm In The Middle, 6 episodes of The Cleveland Show, Jim Gordon in Batman: Year One)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Ocean’s Twelve, Titanic, The Mask Of Zorro)
Paul Giamatti (John Dies At The End, The Hangover Part II, The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto, Sideways, Man On The Moon, Saving Private Ryan, Lady In The Water)
Kevin Nash (wrestler)
Tom Cruise (Knight And Day, Mission: Impossible, Magnolia, Eyes Wide Shut, Minority Report, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, Days Of Thunder)
Malin Akerman (Childrens Hospital, The Giant Mechanical Man, Wanderlust, Watchmen, The Brothers Solomon, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle)
Will Forte (5 episodes of Gravity Falls, 5 episodes of American Dad, Saturday Night Live, 19 episodes of The Cleveland Show, Tim And Eric‘s Billion Dollar Movie, Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Sit Down Shut Up, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, Fanboys, The Brothers Solomon, Clone High
Eli Roth (writer of Cabin Fever, Hostel)
T.J. Miller (Robbie in Gravity Falls, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, Gulliver’s Travels, How To Train Your Dragon, Get Him To The Greek, Cloverfield
Debbie Gibson
Sebastian Bach (Skid Row)

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1336608/combined