Friday, April 28, 2006

Gedo Senki (Legend of Earthsea) trailer

Ain't It Cool News has posted a link to a fantastic trailer of Goro Miyazaki's (yup, Hayao's son) Gedo Senki (Legends of Earthsea). Could we be possibly looking for another Oscar for Studio Ghibli this year (or the next)? It certainly looks promising. The background song is beautiful, too. This is now officially one of my most anticipated films of the year.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Review: Silent Hill

A lot of people are saying that Silent Hill is the best videogame adaptation that has ever been produced. Well, umm...I hope this isn't as good as the adaptations can get. Granted, the images are extremely creepy, and the film as a whole is visually beautiful, but the latter half had me cringing with inane dialogue, wooden acting (mainly courtesy of Laurie Holden), and, save for the nurses (graduates of the Spasm Like Sadako class), a disappearance of the demoniac creatures that made the first half very interesting. I admit that I was expecting so much more, with all the buzz, the mesmerizing trailers, and the attachment of Christophe Gans as director (I really liked his 2001 film, Le Pacte des Loups). Radha Mitchell was adequate as the mother desperate to find her daughter, despite being given terrible lines to say. As for said daughter... I read somewhere Jodelle Ferland being referred to as Canada's Dakota Fanning. Please. While Dakota is a true, fine, mature actress regardless of her age, Jodelle has the acting maturity of a puppy. I found her character more annoying than frightening or worth any sympathy for. Sorry, but I just didn't like her. Grade: C+

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

American Idol: Rod Stewart Week

Last night was without a doubt the best night of American Idol this year (with the 50s episode being a close second), with performances ranging from okay (Kellie) to amazing (Paris and Kat). In fact, it's hard to name the bottom 3, so I won't even try, although Kellie is definitely at the bottom. Was her humble acceptance of her failure just an act to get the audience's sympathy? Well, regardless, it was a decent gesture, and I'm sure it's going to save her. So I think it's going to be either Ace or Elliott out tonight, despite their good performances (in fact, among their best), unless by some odd, nightmarish glitch in the wheel of fate, one of the great four (Kat, Paris, Chris, Taylor) gets the boot. God forbid. Who'll go: Ace. Who should go: Kellie (well, just based on last night. If I'm to consider consistency throughout the competition, then Ace should go).

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Back from the Break...

I'm back after the long Holy Week break. So what have I been doing? Aside from, of course, watching films (see sidebar), I also read the first 30 issues of Image's Invincible, a great new comic book series. Can't wait for the Heroclix line to come out. And I have been playing Square-Enix's Kingdom Hearts II, a brilliant game that's much better than the first. I haven't enjoyed a game this much in a long time; among many other good things about it, the battle system is perhaps the best that I've encountered. Try out both Invincible and Kingdom Hearts II if you have the time!

That's it for now. No Oscar prediction updates as of this moment.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Review: The Hills Have Eyes

Do all American horror films have to have characters doing stupid things that get them killed (with the possible exception of George A. Romero zombie flicks)? It's hard to sympathize with characters who bring their grisly, bloody deaths upon themselves for their lack of common sense. Before you argue simple loss of wits due to the circumstances, watch the film first and then try to justify their actions. This isn't a problem with most Asian horror films; the characters don't have to be dumb to raise the tension of a scene. In the remake of The Hills Have Eyes, it's a rule to waste bullets and shelter for senseless action. You know there's something wrong when the dog seems to be the smartest character in the film.

And please, enough of the cheap jolts of surprise. "Oh look, you thought it was a hungry mutant but it was just your brother!" Any film that has to depend on a surprise every five or so sequences has strayed into overkill territory, and completely lacks subtlety. The occasional jolter would be fine.

A note about the score: it's creepy when it has to be, but when it tries to highlight the triumphs of the film's protagonists, it's painful and cringe-worthy. It has got to be the cheesiest, most annoying piece of scoring that I've heard since Vangelis's work on Alexander.

I have yet to see the original by Wes Craven, which is widely considered to be a classic in the genre. If it's anything like this remake, I'm not interested in seeing it. The only saving grace of this film is that when it needs to be scary, it can deliver. For that, and all right, for Kathleen Quinlan's effective performance, I give this film: Grade: D.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Simpsons Movie

27 July 2007 is the date set for the release of The Simpsons movie. It has been talked about for at least two years now, with voice actors recently stating that they're in very early pre-production stages, but the "announcement" still came as a surprise: there was a teaser accompanying some reels of Ice Age: The Meltdown (this weekend's top-grossing film at more than $70 million). Folks, we now have the [very early] frontrunner for the Animated Feature Film award in the 80th Oscars.

Image taken from IMDb

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Review: Just Friends

"Forgiveness is more than saying sorry..."

Okay, having gotten that out of the way (darn that catchy song), Just Friends offers some good laughs but ultimately turns out to be just another romantic comedy. Ryan Reynolds is inconsistent and isn't as funny as he usually is; maybe if he had spent more time in the fatsuit, as I had thought he would, he would have been more consistently amusing. Despite being the object of the affections of Reynolds's character Chris Brander, Amy Smart barely registers in the film. Sure, she's pretty, but she can't hold a scene with her presence.

It's the supporting characters who make the film at least slightly worthwhile. Chris Marquette acts like a complete goofball as Chris Brander's brother Mike, and it actually works. Anna Faris, who I normally hate, has so perfected the art of imitating (if she IS imitating) the vapid, dumb blonde that she should be made to teach a special acting course, say, "How to Act Like a Bimbo." She is HILARIOUS in this film. Watch it just for her.

As I started with a line from Samantha James's (Faris) song, I'll end with the last line in that same piece: "Where are you?" I know, it's senseless, but it's funny as heck when you imagine Faris's vacant face saying it. Grade: C