Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cliffhanger (1993)




At The Edge

THE PLOT (9 stars - Excellent)
Rescuers Gabe and Hal are forced by big-time thieves to search missing suitcases, full of money.  Also, who wouldn't forget the dramatic rescue of a couple stuck on the mountaintop?  Hang on!  This film will keep you at the edge.

THE PERFORMANCE (8 stars - Very Good)
Sylvester Stallone is not your typical “Rambo” hero here, but he quite performs well as the sympathetic and vulnerable one. On the other hand, supporting casts did a nice job too.  John Lithgow and Rex Linn are the best villains ever.

THE PRODUCTION (9 stars - Excellent)
The movie gives viewers the best real action.  From the fighting and explosion scenes, to the wild-ride airborne and cliffhanging stunts, to the bitter cold snow, ice and avalanche experience.  I enjoyed the breathtaking mountains, plus the matching beautiful soundtrack.



OVERALL SCORE
(9 + 8 + 9) / 3 = 8.66
9/10 points = Excellent


OTHER CRITICS

1.  All Movie
     = 2.5/5.0 stars (reviewed by Mike DiBella)

2.  Amazon
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (based on 80 users)

3.  Box Office Mojo
     = B (based on 757 users)

4.  Film Critic
     = 3.0/5.0 stars (reviewed by Jason Morgan)
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (reviewed by users)

5.  IMDB
     = 6.2/10.0 stars (based on 34,599 users

6.  Metacritic
     = 60/100 points (based on 16 critics)
     = 6.6/10.0 points (based on 5 users)

7.  MRQE
     = 63/100 (based on 70 critics)

8.  MSN Movies
     = 3.0/10.0 stars (based critics)
     = 3.8/5.0 stars (based on 42 users)

9.  RottenTomatoes
     = 82/100 points (based on 33 critics)
     = 47/100 points (based on 9,768 users)

10.  Yahoo Movies
     = none
     = B- (based on 1,896 users)


THE GIST
Death defying!  A lot of things going on, yet I like how everything is connected.  Be ready to see non-stop gripping scenes, escaping from the crooks and the harsh nature.  :)



EXTRA STUFF

1.  CAUGHT QUOTE

"Let me jar your memory."
- Eric Qualen



2.  INTERESTING CHARACTER

"Loudmouth" Richard Travers



3.  TEASER SCENE

video
- Reaching up


4.  MOVIE TRAILER

video




5.  NUMBER TRACKER 

Production Budget                          $70.0 M
---------------------------------------------------
Domestic Gross           $84.0 M
Foreign Gross            $171.0 M
---------------------------------------------------
Worldwide Gross                          $255.0 M
---------------------------------------------------
Profit                                           $185.0 M



6.  ACCOLADES (BEST AND WORST)

Academy Awards, USA (Oscars)
Nominated:                  - Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing
                                   - Best Effects, Visual Effects
                                   - Best Sound

MTV Awards, USA
Nominated:                  - Best Opening Sequence

Razzie Awards, USA
Nominated:                  - Worst Picture
                                   - Worst Screenplay
                                   - Worst Supporting Actor
                                           (John Lithgow)
                                   - Worst Supporting Actress
                                           (Janine Turner)













Monday, January 16, 2012

A Very Long Engagement (2004)




Love Waits, Love Hopes

THE PLOT (6 stars - Above Average)
Young lady waits and hopes for the return of her fiancĂ© soldier from the bitter end of war.  Her constant search and perseverance succeeds, despite of disability and discouragements.  I like how she whispers challenges to herself and beats them.

THE PERFORMANCE (7 stars - Good)
In some parts, acting is a bit theatrical and vulgar and in some parts, a bit dry. Lead actress Audrey Tautou’s performance is controlled and reserved. Meanwhile, her lover Gaspard Ulliel, gets little exposure over a war that's vividly portrayed.

THE PRODUCTION (8 stars - Very Good)
Daring shots and executions, depicting the loom scenarios of the World War I.  Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet captures the dark side of battlefield with art.  Cinematography is at its best, visualizing the quiet beauty of the lighthouse and scenery of France.



OVERALL SCORE
(6 + 7 + 8) / 3 = 7.00
7/10 points = Above Average



OTHER CRITICS

1.  All Rovi
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (reviewed by Derek Armstrong)

2.  Amazon
     = 4.5/5.0 stars (based on 125 users)

3.  Box Office Mojo
     = B (based on 228 users)

4.  Film Critic
     = 3.0/5.0 stars (reviewed by Chris Barsanti)
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (reviewed by users)

5.  IMDB
     = 7.8/10.0 stars (based on 29,999 users)

6.  Metacritic
     = 76/100 points (based on 39 critics)
     = 8.1/10.0 points (based on 38 users)

7.  MRQE
     = 75/100 (based on 152 critics)

8.  MSN Movies
     = 4.0/10.0 stars (based critics)
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (based on 129 users)

9.  RottenTomatoes
     = 77/100 points (based on 142 critics)
     = 84/100 points (based on 22,881 users)

10.  Yahoo Movies
     = B (based on 5 critics)
     = B (based on 2,660 users)



THE GIST
Picturesque battles and majestic vistas overshadow the emotions which supposed to be the heart of the movie.  Squeezing too much style and elegance diverts viewers' attention leaving them at lost.  :(



EXTRA STUFF

1.  CAUGHT QUOTE

"Tears say what you can't say."
- Sylvain




2.  INTERESTING CHARACTER

"Stubborn" Mailman



3.  TEASER SCENE

video
- Childhood days



4.  MOVIE TRAILER

video


5.  NUMBER TRACKER 

Production Budget                          $56.6 M
---------------------------------------------------
Domestic Gross             $6.5 M
Foreign Gross              $63.6 M
---------------------------------------------------
Worldwide Gross                            $70.1 M
---------------------------------------------------
Profit                                            $13.5 M



6.  ACCOLADES (BEST AND WORST)

Academy Awards, USA (Oscars)
Nominated:                  - Best Achievement in Art Direction
                                   - Best in Cinematorgraphy

BAFTA Awards, UK (British Academy of Film and Television Arts)
Nominated:                 - Best Film Not in the English Language

Golden Globes, USA
Nominated:                 - Best Foreign Language Film

                







Sunday, January 15, 2012

Zathura (2005)




A Journey In Space

THE PLOT (8 stars - Very Good)
Zathura is a unique two-player board game.  A dangerous one.  Once you've started it, there's no turning back.  To survive, you have no choice but to finish the race.  Watch, join and learn from the out-of-this-world adventure of our two scrappy brothers.

THE PERFORMANCE (6 stars - Above Average)
Yes, Jonah and Josh beat others in auditions yet they show no emotions in some scenes even surroundings are with explosions and awe.  Screams are just mechanical.  It's those seasoned actors, Tim, Kristen and funnyman Dax save the talent portion.

THE PRODUCTION (9 stars - Excellent)
Impressive work!  The house in outer space is an eye-popping encounter.  Not to mention the plausible  meteor shower, the destructions from alien attacks, the gravity pull, the exuberant solar systems and wishing stars.  Director Jon Favreau did a great job.



OVERALL SCORE
(8 + 6 + 9) / 3 = 7.66
8/10 points = Very Good


OTHER CRITICS

1.  All Rovi
     = 3.5/5.0 stars (reviewed by Jeremy Wheeler)

2.  Amazon
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (based on 121 users

3.  Box Office Mojo
     = B (based on 501 users)

4.  Film Critic
     = 1.5/5.0 stars (reviewed by David Levine
     = 3.0/5.0 stars (reviewed by users)

5.  IMDB
     = 6.2/10.0 stars (based on 16,638 users)

6.  Metacritic
     = 67/100 points (based on 30 critics)
     = 6.3/10.0 points (based on 27 users)

7.  MRQE
     = 65/100 (based on 139 critics)

8.  MSN Movies
     = 3.5/10.0 stars (based) critics     = 3.8/5.0 stars (based on 390 users)

9.  RottenTomatoes
     = 75/100 points (based on 157 critics)
     = 54/100 points (based on 23,630 users)

10.  Yahoo Movies
     = C+ (based on 13 critics)
     = B- (based on 8,167 users)



THE GIST
Intended as sequel for Jumanji, Zathura takes you to a far better journey.  This is an enjoyable experience for family and kids, with non-stop actions, some funny and inspiring moments.  :)


EXTRA STUFF

1.  CAUGHT QUOTE

 "There are some games
you can't play alone."
- Astronaut



2.  INTERESTING CHARACTER

"Alien" Goat



3.  TEASER SCENE

video
- Spit testing



4.  MOVIE TRAILER

video



5.  NUMBER TRACKER 

Production Budget                          $65.0 M
---------------------------------------------------
Domestic Gross           $29.3 M
Foreign Gross              $35.0 M
---------------------------------------------------
Worldwide Gross                            $64.3 M
---------------------------------------------------
Loss                                                $1.7 M



6.  ACCOLADES (BEST AND WORST)

Saturn Awards, USA
(Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films)
Nominated:                - Best Fantasy Film
                                 - Best Performance by A Younger Actor
                                      (Josh Hutcherson)






Saturday, January 14, 2012

King Kong (1976)




Beauty And The Giant

THE PLOT (8 stars - Very Good)
This version have major changes on the story yet it doesn't hurt that much.  Oil expedition team discovers King Kong in unchartered island is more likely credible.  The odd relationship between the beauty and the beast remains the main highlight.

THE PERFORMANCE (7 stars - Good)
Cast is great!  Young Jeff Bridges acts on the dot.  He knows when to hold and when to exert.  Charles Gordin as the demanding owner is half-baked.  And of course, sexy newcomer Jessica Lange delivers physical and emotional all-out performance.

THE PRODUCTION (8 stars - Very Good)
For a film produced in the 70's, this is one daring and dedicated workmanship.  The puppet / mechanical monster helps display different believable expressions.  Such grand settings and cinematography.  The locations are stunningly beautiful and lush especially the isolated paradise.



OVERALL SCORE
(8 + 7 + 8) / 3 = 7.66
8/10 points = Above Average



OTHER CRITICS

1.  All Movie
     = 2.0/5.0 stars (reviewed by Michael Costello)

2.  Amazon
     = 3.5/5.0 stars (based on 211 users)

3.  Box Office Mojo
     = C (based on 351 users)

4.  Film Critic
     = 1.0/5.0 stars (reviewed by Christopher Null)
     = 3.5/5.0 stars (reviewed by users)

5.  IMDB
     = 5.6/10.0 stars (based on 10,584 users)

6.  Metacritic
     = None
    
7.  MRQE
     = 56/100 (based on 27 critics)

8.  MSN Movies
     = 3.5/10.0 stars (based critics)
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (based on 38 users)

9.  RottenTomatoes
     = 46/100 points (based on 24 critics)
     = 42/100 points (based on 10,610 users)

10.  Yahoo Movies
     = None
     = C+ (based on 985 users)



THE GIST
Recently, we had King Kong's 2005 modern version.  Curiosity triggers me to watch this 1976 classic.  I saw this when I was a kid and surprisingly, I still enjoyed it.  :)



EXTRA STUFF

1.  CAUGHT QUOTE

"Maybe my luck is changed."
- Dwan




2.  INTERESTING CHARACTER

"Hungry" Giant Snake



3.  TEASER SCENE

video
- Nice catch



4.  MOVIE TRAILER

video



5.  NUMBER TRACKER 

Production Budget                          $24.0 M
---------------------------------------------------
Domestic Gross           $52.6 M
Foreign Gross              $38.0 M
---------------------------------------------------
Worldwide Gross                            $90.6 M
---------------------------------------------------
Profit                                             $66.6 M



6.  ACCOLADES (BEST AND WORST)

Academy Awards, USA (Oscars)
Winner:                       - Spcial Achievement Award
Nominated:                 - Best Cinematography
                                  - Best Sound


Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror, USA
Winner:                      - Special Award


BAFTA Awards, UK (British Academy of Fim and Television Arts)
Nominated:                - Best Production Design / Art Direction


Golden Globes, USA
Winner:                   - Best Acting Debut in a Motion Picture
                                      (Jessica Lange)








Friday, January 13, 2012

The Lake House (2006)




Right Place In A Wrong Time

THE PLOT (7 stars - Good)
The Lake House (TLH) is a modern take of “Somewhere In Time”.  Based on the Korean movie “Il Mare”, TLH is about two strangers who fall in love but living in a different time.  Dilemma is, how they’ll gonna meet?

THE PERFORMANCE (5 stars - Average)
After "Speed", 16 years ago, Bullock and Reeves have teamed-up again.  Roles are perfect for them but the chemistry between them is a bit cold - both display such dry performances.  I'm a Sandra-Keanu fan, I wish they've pushed it more.

THE PRODUCTION (5 stars - Average)
I enjoy the seasons, cityscape and architectural cinematography scattered in the film - it sets the mood.  Nice soundtracks as well.  The story is promising but direction isn't able to show its full potential.  I find the phasing obviously dragging.



OVERALL SCORE
(7 + 5 + 5) / 3 = 6.00
6//10 points = Above Average



OTHER CRITICS

1.  All Rovi
     = 3.5/5.0 stars (reviewed by Perry Seibert)
     = 3.5/5.0 stars (based on 4 users)

2.  Amazon
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (based on 360 users)

3.  Box Office Mojo
     = B (based on 737 users)

4.  Film Critic
     = 2.5/5.0 stars (reviewed by David Dylan Thomas)
     = 3.0/5.0 stars (based on users)

5.  IMDB
     = 6.8/10.0 stars (based on 40,964 users)

6.  Metacritic
     = 52/100 points (based on 34 critics)
     = 7.8/10.0 points (based on 207 users)

7.  MRQE
     = 57/100 (based on critics)

8.  MSN Movies
     = 3.0/10.0 stars (based critics)
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (based on 472 users)

9.  RottenTomatoes
     = 36/100 points (based on 154 critics)
     = 75/100 points (based on 401,024 users)

10.  Yahoo Movies
     = C+ (based on 15 critics)
     = B (based on 17,991 users)



THE GIST
Smart.  Sometimes I get lost with 2004, 2006 and 2008 timeline.  At the end, it intertwines and still captures our hearts.  Decent.  For me, decent is not good, it's just average.  :|



EXTRA STUFF

1.  CAUGHT QUOTE
"Let me let you go."
- Kate Forster




2.  INTERESTING CHARACTER
Jack "of all trades"



3.  TEASER SCENE

video
- Man from the past



4.  MOVIE TRAILER

video




5.  NUMBER TRACKER 

Production Budget                          $40.0 M
---------------------------------------------------
Domestic Gross           $52.3 M
Foreign Gross              $62.5 M
---------------------------------------------------
Worldwide Gross                           $114.8 M
---------------------------------------------------
Profit                                             $74.8 M



6.  ACCOLADES (BEST AND WORST)

Teens Choice Awards, USA

Winner:                        - Movies - Choice Liplock
                                        (Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves)
Nominated:                  - Movies - Choice Chick Flick
                                     







Thursday, January 12, 2012

Joy Ride (2001)




When Good Prank Turns Bad

THE PLOT (8 stars - Very Good)
A bad joke that ends up in trouble…big time!  Thomas brothers (Walker and Zahn) wish they haven’t mess around with psychopath stranger “Rusty Nail”.  Now, the prank is on them… and to a girl (Sobieski) that accidentally get involved.

THE PERFORMANCE (8 stars - Very Good)
Confident but vulnerable Sobieski is beautiful on screen.  Walker as the rational brother is believable.  And Zahn... of course, brings in the comedy side with his exaggerated expressions and goofy behavior.  Deserved lead actors keeps the viewers on the edge.

THE PRODUCTION (8 stars - Very Good)
I like the balance of tension and humor presented in this film.  Clever script and some funny dialogues, match the bullying approach of the movie.  Rusty Nail's voice, the nowhere highway, motel and cornfield settings are disturbingly subtle - Hitchcock style.



OVERALL SCORE
(8 + 8 + 8) / 3 = 8.00
8/10 points = Very Good



OTHER CRITICS

1.  All Rovi
     = 3.5/5.0 stars (reviewed by Josh Ralske)
     = 3.5/5.0 stars (based on 7 users)

2.  Amazon
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (based on 256 users)

3.  Box Office Mojo
     = B (based on 423 users)

4.  Film Critic
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (reviewed by Blake French)
     = 2.0/5.0 stars (based on users)

5.  IMDB
     = 6.6/10.0 stars (based on 24,497 users)

6.  Metacritic
     = 75/100 points (based on 31 critics)
     = 8.7/10.0 points (based on 47 users)

7.  MRQE
     = 65/100 (based on critics)

8.  MSN Movies
     = 4.0/10.0 stars (based critics)
     = 4.5/5.0 stars (based on 192 users)

9.  RottenTomatoes
     = 74/100 points (based on 111 critics)
     = 63/100 points (based on 60,209 users)

10.  Yahoo Movies
     = None
     = B (based on 3,667 users)



THE GIST
This is not your usual teen/slasher film.  This one is slick and well-presented.  From start to end, continuous mystery didn't get bored.  Simple plot yet delivers non-stop chilling experience.  :)



EXTRA STUFF

1.  CAUGHT QUOTE
"This is like some kinda

prehistoric Internet or something."

- Fuller Thomas




2.  INTERESTING CHARACTER
"Furious" Sheriff Ritter



3.  TEASER SCENE

video
- Ordering 12 cheeseburgers



4.  MOVIE TRAILER

video



5.  NUMBER TRACKER 

Production Budget                           $23.0 M
---------------------------------------------------
Domestic Gross           $22.0 M
Foreign Gross              $14.6 M
---------------------------------------------------
Worldwide Gross                            $36.6 M
---------------------------------------------------
Profit                                             $13.6 M



6.  ACCOLADES (BEST AND WORST)

Saturn Awards, USA
(Academy of Science Fiction/Fantasy & Horror Films)
Nominated:                 -  Best Action / Adventure / Thriller Film








Wednesday, January 11, 2012

United 93 (2006)




Heroes Unite

THE PLOT (7 stars - Good)
United 93 was the hijacked plane that missed its target during the 9/11 attack.  The actual events on why this happened is what the public longs to know.  I appreciate how they present it in a detailed and straightforward manner.

THE PERFORMANCE (6 stars - Above Average)
Getting unknown actors, real-life persons (as themselves) and participants (pilots, stewardesses, air-controllers, military officers and staffs) as casts feel authentic and right.  Satisfactory performances to the main actors and terrorists.  They're generally amateurs, so I just noticed some “conscious eyes”.

THE PRODUCTION (6 stars - Above Average)
Director Greengrass applies his “shaky camera” trademark to emphasize realism.  I like how the film focuses on United 93 and not on other big picture like the Twin Tower.  Though overall, I feel it lacks intensity and connection to audience.



OVERALL SCORE
(7 + 6 + 6) / 3 = 6.33
6/10 points = Above Average



OTHER CRITICS

1.  All Rovi
     = 4.5/5.0 stars (reviewed by Perry Seibert)
     = 4.5/5.0 stars (based on 6 users)

2.  Amazon
     = 4.5/5.0 stars (based on 316 users)

3.  Box Office Mojo
     = B (based on 1,038 users)

4.  Film Critic
     = 5.0/5.0 stars (reviewed by Sean O'Connell)
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (based on users)

5.  IMDB
     = 7.8/10.0 stars (based on 49,684 users)

6.  Metacritic
     = 90/100 points (based on 39 critics)
     = 7.6/10.0 points (based on 266 users)

7.  MRQE
     = 86/100 (based on critics)

8.  MSN Movies
     = 4.5/10.0 stars (based critics)
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (based on 961 users)

9.  RottenTomatoes
     = 91/100 points (based on 200 critics)
     = 77/100 points (based on 120,168 users)

10.  Yahoo Movies
     = A- (based on 14 critics)
     = B+ (based on 15,154 users)



THE GIST
Documentary movies often create huge impact to viewers.  Let's not forget the passengers who are the true heroes here.  Bravo to the creators for having this as accurate as possible.  :)



EXTRA STUFF

1.  CAUGHT QUOTE

"We have to do something,

they are not going to land this plane."

- Thomas E. Burnett Jr.




2.  INTERESTING CHARACTER

"Undecided" Ziad Jarrah



3.  TEASER SCENE

video
- Pass the message



4.  MOVIE TRAILER

video



5.  NUMBER TRACKER 

Production Budget                          $15.0 M
---------------------------------------------------
Domestic Gross           $31.5 M
Foreign Gross              $44.8 M
---------------------------------------------------
Worldwide Gross                            $76.3 M
---------------------------------------------------
Profit                                             $61.3 M



6.  ACCOLADES (BEST AND WORST)

Academy Awards, USA (Oscars)
Nominated:                  - Best Achievement in Directing (Paul Greengrass)
                                   - Best Achievement in Editing


BAFTA Awards, UK (British Academy of Film and Television Arts)
Winner:                        - Best Editing
                                    - David Lean Award for Direction
                                              (Paul Greengrass)

Nominated:                  - Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film
                                   - Best Cinematography
                                   - Best Screenplay - Original
                                   - Best Sound








Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Emperor's New Groove (2000)





Wacky And Funny

THE PLOT (7 stars - Good)
Now, a cartoon that's more suited for adults - especially the humor.  But for the moral lesson of the story, it's for everyone.  The Emperor's New Groove (TENG) is a classic tale about arrogance turned to humility in a modern take.

THE PERFORMANCE (9 stars - Excellent)
Outstanding ensemble of voice talents – the creator of TENG resembles their characters to the actors, which works well especially to Kuzco (David Spade) and Yzma (Eartha Kitt).  You can even see the similarities in their moves and facial expressions.

THE PRODUCTION (8 stars - Very Good)
Definitely Disney - friendly with children yet likable for grown-ups.  Distinct colors and crafty designs represent the Incan theme.  I like how they uniquely choose an unconventional character llama as the lead role.  For music / song, nothing memorable though.



OVERALL SCORE
(7 + 9 + 8) / 3 = 8.00
8/10 points = Very Good



OTHER CRITICS

1.  All Rovi
     = 3.0/5.0 stars (reviewed by Derek Armstrong)
     = 4.5/5.0 stars (based on 3 users)

2.  Amazon
     = 4.5/5.0 stars (based on 315 users)

3.  Box Office Mojo
     = B (based on 1,013 users)

4.  Film Critic
     = 3.5/5.0 stars (reviewed by Max Messier)
     = 4.0/5.0 stars (based on users)

5.  IMDB
     = 7.4/10.0 stars (based on 27,612 users)

6.  Metacritic
     = 70/100 points (based on 28 critics)
     = 8.8/10.0 points (based on 28 users)

7.  MRQE
     = 71/100 (based on critics)

8.  MSN Movies
     = 3.5/10.0 stars (based on critics)
     = 4.5/5.0 stars (based on 142 users)

9.  RottenTomatoes
     = 85/100 points (based on 127 critics)
     = 75/100 points (based on 420,621 users)

10.  Yahoo Movies
     = None
     = B (based on 38,718 users)



THE GIST
Enjoyable especially the first scheming part and the last chasing part.  It's those wacky characters and funny one-liners that completes the picture.  This is one of my favorite animation films.  :)



EXTRA STUFF

1.  CAUGHT QUOTE
"Nobody lives forever!  Charge!"

- Head Soldier




2.  INTERESTING CHARACTER
"Energetic" Theme Song Guy



3.  TEASER SCENE

video
- Wrong vials



4.  MOVIE TRAILER

video


5.  NUMBER TRACKER 

Production Budget                        $100.0 M
---------------------------------------------------
Domestic Gross           $89.3 M
Foreign Gross              $80.0 M
---------------------------------------------------
Worldwide Gross                          $169.3 M
---------------------------------------------------
Profit                                             $69.3 M



6.  ACCOLADES (BEST AND WORST)

Academy Awards, USA (Oscars)
Nominated:                 - Best Music, Original Song (My Funny Friend And Me)

Golden Globes, USA
Nominated:                 - Best Original Song - Motion Picture
                                            (My Funny Friend And Me)

Grammy Awards, USA
Nominated:                 - Best Song Written For A Motion Picture, TV
                                            or Other Media (My Funny Friend And Me)