Sunday, July 19, 2015

"Ant Man": Tiny but Mighty


     Recently I had the opportunity to watch Marvel's newest cinematic installment, "Ant Man". As the title of this post suggests, it exceeded my expectations.

   I'll be honest when I say that I wasn't expecting much from this. Marvel has been pretty good recently about taking weak ideas and turning them into a blockbuster. I think they did a pretty decent job with Ant Man. 

   Concerning the box office, however, Ant Man has been a very unsuccessful movie for Marvel; bringing in only $58 million on opening weekend. This is a pretty small number...for Marvel that is. 

   Despite what critics are saying regarding the unsuccessful box-office ratings and a half-baked story, Ant Man was a breath of fresh air after Marvel's recent universe changing installments.

    Ant Man tells the story of Scott Lang, a cat burglar and a jailbird. After being released from prison, Scott tries to get back on his feet so he can pay child support for his daughter. After trying to stay on the good side of the law, Scott eventually turns to one last heist to earn the dough he needs. 

   After a convoluted series of events following the aforementioned heist, Scott meets Hank Pym and his bitter daughter, Hope. Hank, who used to wear the Ant Man suit, trains Scott to help him with a heist on the company Hank founded. I won't continue lest I spoil the plot. 

   Ant Man turned out to be a very delightful origins story with a fantastic performance from Paul Rudd. The film was chock full of wit without sacrificing a serious tone. 

   One of the things I liked most was how "local" the film felt. As said before, Marvel movies tend to deal a lot with fate of the world scenarios. Ant Man was great in my book because of how "insignificant" the situations felt. It sounds weird, but it's true. 

   In the end, Ant Man definitely gets a B+ from me. Not Marvel's greatest achievement, but certainly not a flop. My only regret is that we won't see Ant Man again until Civil War...
                                                              -Ryan      

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Exodus: gods and Kings

 

I had you going there for a second there, didn't I? You probably thought this was going to be the 'Age of Ultron' review. It's not.

I apologize. This isn't some twisted prank, it's just that I don't want to give you guys a half-baked review of a movie. I haven't had much time to dedicate to the pondering of the film, so I haven't been able to concoct a review.

That being said, I want to tell you guys about this neato movie I watched last night: 'Exodus: gods and Kings'. Some of you might have heard of this, or even seen it, but others most likely have not. 

If you read my post about Christian Movies, then you are already aware of my view on them. Yes, the movie is always different from the book. This holds true even for the Bible.

A lot of people gave this film a bad rap because of the "biblically incorrect" plot. I say 'poo' unto that. Pardon my potty mouth. 

In summary (I really hope you wouldn't have to read a summary about the story of Moses, but if you've been living under a rock since the dawn of time, continue reading.), 'Exodus: gods and Kings' is the story of Moses. 

Moses is a chill dude who hangs out with his homies in Egypt; living the easy life of battle and fortune. Then BAM! He finds out he's a Hebrew. He is then banished from Egypt and makes a life for himself in the land of Midian. 

Long story short, Moses is called by God (yes, the Big Man himself) to liberate the Israelite slaves from their captivity in Egypt. Moses does just that. And might I say, he does a pretty BA job of doing it. 

I'll admit, the first act of this movie was pretty weak. Not weak in story (that would be like insulting the Bible if I said it was weak in story), but weak in pacing and development. I assume that the film-makers knew that 90% (hopefully) of the population already knows the story of Moses. This explains the rushed first half and is understandable. 

What I really enjoyed about this film was how they portrayed the liberation of Egypt. Most iterations of this tend to be peaceful in nature. Well, when Batman is Moses (did I mention Christian Bale plays Moses?) you don't play peacefully. You fight. They do this and it makes me happy.


The Israelites don't wait around for God to help them out (which he does, mind you), they (initially, at least) take matters into their own hands. The slaves pretty much turn into a shadowy group of insurgents. Best. Ever. 

Another thing I absolutely loved was how the 7 plagues were depicted. The realism with which they are shown is remarkable. As I recall, I think to myself, "That's EXACTLY what it would've been like."

Even though the movie has its flaws with accurateness and little holes in the pacing, it did a fantastic job of portraying the exodus of the Israelites. 

Moral of the story, Batman makes a good Moses. 

Best,
-Ryan      

Monday, May 11, 2015

Just Poppin' In

Hello there. Unfortunately, I can't make a long post right now. I just thought I'd let you know that I do have a post planned. Sorry I didn't post last week. It's coming up on finals here so that's a thing that must be done. Yeah. 
So in the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi - "Move along."

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Concerning My Absence and Age of Ultron

"Guys, it's me. I've got a lot of apologies to make and not a lot of time. So, first off I'm sorry I didn't post last week. That was selfish and stupid and it won't happen again..."

I sincerely hope you recognized that last paragraph to be an Iron Man III quote. Nevertheless, I am sorry for my malnourishment of the blog. I've been- no, I won't say it. Every Blogger EVER uses it as an excuse for when they don't post. Instead of feeding you lies, I shall speaketh the truth: I was a tad on the lazy side. 

Yes, believe it or not, that's why I didn't post. I had plenty of time to, but blog posting is something that you have to be in the right mindset to do. Unfortunately that 'oh so rare' mindset ceased to nest inside my brain. 

Anywho, I actually don't have a solid topic to enunciate words upon. My life of film has been stagnant. I haven't really seen any movies or filmed great ones. 

I did actually, however, make my first short film the other day. You might find this statement contradictory to the concluding sentence of the last paragraph; but rest assured this film was not great. I wouldn't even consider it a film, more like a sketch. I have to get the bad ones out of the way I guess. 

So I'm going to see Age of Ultron today (well, at the time of this writing). I am nothing short of stoked. In just a few hours I shall alleviate the pent-up fan-boy emotions. It has taken every fiber in my being not to click on the links that explain new characters, or show the ending. I just want to KNOW!

    

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Grab Bag: The Giver, Ant Man, and Star Wars VII



I apologize for posting late. 
Chorus: "We accept your apology."

You're probably thinking that was pretty weird. It was. But it's what you would've said if you were in the world of 'The Giver'. Man, that movie's creepy. Creepy, but good. 

As the title suggests, this is a multipurpose post. I have many things to cover so let's jump right in.

Let's talk about 'The Giver'. That movie is pretty amazing (despite my "creepy" remarks). The concept behind the story is pretty realistic. Everyone lives in a bland society of equality. Nobody is jealous or unkind. Everything seems to be surviving in harmony; which sounds good on paper (or rather a blog?), but in reality is pretty suckish. 

One individual, The Receiver of Memory, holds all the memories of the community. Nobody can recall events that happened in the past. No war, no disease, no pain. Along with that, the good things can't be remembered either: love, pleasure, kindness, warmth. Yeah, sucky.

It's the most horrible utopia, which is kind of redundant if you think about it. Anyway, it's a good movie that ends well while promoting pro-life ideals and individuality. Despite these great traits, there are some points that are a little lackluster.

First off, I think it's worth mentioning that 'The Giver' was perhaps one of the first novels in the "dystopian" genre of literature that we are familiar with today. We've all read it in grade school. It's a good book. Unfortunately, the mentality of novels in today's society is that of, "Let's make a movie about it!"

"Wow! That movie was just as good as the book, if not better!", Said no movie go-er ever. 
Sadly, 'The Giver' fits into this. It just felt really rushed; as if the production company wanted to jump onto the dystopian bandwagon. I felt the movie was more deserving of a more in-depth film.

Next, the pacing of the movie is pretty wacked up. Normally things like that don't bug me, but movies are supposed to be like cars on an un-clogged highway: moving at a constant speed without changing directions or velocity. 

'The Giver', on the other hand, is more like a stick-shift during rush hour. It didn't ruin the film for me, it's just that some parts were really fleshed out and elaborated on; while some were clearly moved to the back-burner during the writing of the movie. This makes for a very inconsistent pacing. It's not a deal-breaker, more like a deal-bruiser. 

Anyway, enough with the giver. Let's talk Marvel. Who's seen the new 'Ant Man' trailer? If you haven't, you should change that. It's pretty fantastic. Watch it now:



I won't lie to you, I thought (judging from the first trailer) that 'Ant Man' would be pretty stupid. The first teaser made it look very childish and unrealistic. Well, unrealistic within reason. 

My opinion changed when I saw the above trailer. It's looks pretty epic. I'm excited, to say the least. 

Enough Marvel, let's talk Disney. And no, I don't mean Frozen 2. I mean the new Star Wars trailer. I almost peed my pants watching it. It's nothing short of fantastic. I can't think of any better way to end a blog post than with the new trailer: 



Hope you guys enjoyed the post! Peace out.
Best,
-Ryan   

Thursday, April 9, 2015

'Edge Of Tomorrow' and Time Manipulation

A few nights ago I had the pleasure of watching a movie that came out last summer, "Edge of Tomorrow". Despite how underrated it was, it was fantastic. Just goes to show you, you can't go wrong with Tom Cruise and Exo-Suits. 
Basically, in this movie (that takes place in the not-so-distant future) the Earth has been in a five-year war with an alien race. The main character, William Cage, is an officer in the US military...for media relations. This guy has seen like no combat. Ever. Which makes for some funny moments when he gets thrust into an Exo-Suit. 

Anyway, I'm not reviewing this, just giving a synopsis. After being killed within minutes on a suicide mission, Cage wakes up...that morning. Yeah. Freaky. 
By killing one of the aliens, Cage harnessed the innate ability to reset the day. Cool, right? Sounds crazy, but watch the movie and it'll make sense.

Forced to live out the same day in an endless loop, Cage hones his abilities whilst growing closer to winning the war. Let's just say it's pretty insane.

Insanity aside, this movie got me thinking: Wouldn't it be cool to have the ability to manipulate time? Of course, this prospect is outlandish, but a cool concept. However, I think that the idea of having total control is overrated. I would settle for the ability to see four seconds into the future. 

"I walk down the street with a jovial look in my eye. I quickly duck back, narrowly dodging the bullet aimed at my cranium. Something like that would normally be viewed as impossible; but I saw it coming four seconds ago."

See? That would be awesome. You wouldn't necessarily "see" the future, lest you be existing in two parallel universes, but it would be more of a sixth-sense. 

So yeah. There's something for your brain to chew on. I hope you have a great day!

Best,
-Ryan     

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Christian Movies


Christian movies. We've all heard of them. We've even watched them. Some are better than others. In recent years, the christian movie kick has certainly been spurred. 'Noah', 'Son Of God', 'God's Not Dead', and 'Exodus' are just some of these.


I'll be outright with you; I have mixed feelings on them. I'm a life-long Roman-Catholic-Christian (say that three times fast), and the faith-based aspect of these movies is thrilling. It's pleasing to know that hollywood has been instigated to spread teaching about Christianity; but at what cost? 

In many of these movies (specifically the ones based off the Bible itself), you may find yourself saying on multiple occasion, "THAT wasn't in the book." I'm talking to you 'Noah'! We don't know for certain, but giant rock-monsters personifying fallen angels is a tad bit far-fetched.


Now, I know that the public doesn't like to have faith stuffed down their throats. Moderation is key. Sadly, Hollywood tends to view moderation as changing a few things in the Bible to be more entertaining. I won't lie to you, 'Noah' was a very entertaining movie to watch. Behind the mask of CGI, a little voice inside of me was saying, "Yep, that didn't happen."

As far as the movies that take place in modern times (God's Not Dead), I don't have much to say about them. Mainly because I haven't seen them. *shrugs shoulders* 

It may seem I only have flak to throw at these movies, but in reality I'm very excited to see them being produced. I give hollywood an A for effort for this. 

As an aspiring christian director, I wish not to compromise my morals if I make it into the film industry. Knowing an influx of christian movies are in demand comforts me with the prospect of working on a big-name, yet wholesome film.   

Friday, March 27, 2015

My Film Endeavors and Age of Ultron

I apologize for not posting yesterday. I know that I promised I would post weekly on Thursdays. One day late is better than not posting at all I suppose. 

Quite frankly, I had a very busy week and didn't have time to think of a solid topic involving movies. In lieu of this, I shall elaborate on my current film endeavors.

Basically, when I was twelve, my love of film was introduced through stop-motion animation. This is actually a pretty common way in which film makers are introduced to the industry. It's just recently that I've shifted gears to live-action filming.

I intend to spring-board my way into live-action filming by making short sketch films. You are familiar with this genre if you have seen a Julian Smith or Rhett and Link video. These are basically short comedy sketches that are random in nature and witty in presentation. Upon my release of these I shall link to my youtube. 

My passion for filming has stemmed completely from my love of story-telling. Ever since I was young I've been a guy who's always up for a long joke or a funny story. Film is just an elaborate way of presenting these stories. 

I aspire to climb the ladder of media creation until I earn a place commercially.

Yay. This concludes my heart-touching post that outlines my dreams and hobby. On to the interesting stuff.

Who's excited for Age of Ultron? I know this isn't new news. Everyone knows it's coming out, but as its release date draws closer, I'm starting to get pretty exited. What I'm most excited for is the introduction of new characters.

My hope for this is that Marvel gives enough back-story and screen-time for each of these characters. Give credit where credit is due, eh? 

Anyway, here's the trailer for all of you who live under a rock. 

      

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

'Big Hero 6' Review


                                                                                     
                                               

Today I will be reviewing one of Disney's newest animated releases, "Big Hero 6". Let me start off by saying that it was nothing short of fantastic.

I'll be honest; I didn't know what to expect going into this. "What? Disney made an animated movie based off a Marvel comic that appeared in the 90's?" I was slightly skeptical, to say the least. 
     
My skepticism was quickly whisked away as soon as the opening scene came into view. I shan't elaborate for the sake of keeping this review relatively spoiler-free, but let's just say this movie went with the "jump into the action!" approach, and it payed off. 

The grandiose action movie this is painted to be is quite deceiving. Behind all the glitz and glamour of the stupendous fight scenes and great animation, lies a cinematic experience that's full of heart. 

This movie, at its core, has something most animated movies don't: heart. What I mean by this is that this movie has something underlying and driving throughout. Most animated movies turn into "Let's do this just because!" endeavors. Big Hero 6, on the other hand, has something deeper. 

Big Hero 6 is about Hiro Hamada, a thirteen/fourteen year old boy who lives in the fictional city of San-Fransokyo. He's a technical genius who doesn't apply his talents. His older brother, Tadashi, introduces him to the world of college where Hiro can hone his talents in a resourceful way. In a twist of events *SPOILER ALERT* Tadashi is killed, leaving Hiro in a state of depression.

What's one of the best ways to cope with loss? Why, a huggable robot of course! Enter, Baymax: Tadashi's last creation. The relationship between Hiro and Baymax can be described as rebuilding. Baymax's delightfully oblivious self gives the movie a certain sense of wonder.

Hiro's loss also brings into play another point. In this movie we see one of the most commonly used forms of man vs. self conflict: grieving. I can give you a list of movies that have dealt with this in such a way that almost make me cry, but I won't. You can take heart in the fact that Big Hero 6 is on said list. 

Among the deeper things, Big Hero 6 has some great things going for it in the way of the movie itself. I found that the pacing of everything was great, not too rushed but not begrudgingly slow. Both of which are common problems in animated movies (heck, any movie involving superheroes!). 

Big Hero 6 is hilarious. I feel the need to be out-right with that. It's a funny movie. It may be a "kids movie", but I'm immature, so I found it to be quite laughable.

As for the soundtrack of this movie, I'll be honest, I didn't notice it because I was so engrossed in the film itself. That being said, I opened up Spotify and listened to the soundtrack by itself afterwards. It's good. 
Each song does a neat job of encompassing its respective scene. It's nothing amazing like the Lord of The Rings soundtrack, but it's definitely no ho-hum tune, either.

Okay, so every movie has its bad points, right? Although this movie has some strong things going for it, it has its flaws, however small. 

One of the big things that bugged me was how predictable it is in parts. Superhero movies (especially ones that involve a team of supers) tend to have a very clear-cut routine: origins involving a traumatic experience > things start to turn up > villain is introduced and defeats the hero/es > recuperate and conquer. And sadly, Big Hero 6 falls into this, leaving it slightly predictable.   

In tandem with the predictability is that some parts seemed forced, "Our parents died when I was three, remember?". 
Really? I think he would remember that... I understand that re-writing a script to please every little detail is unrealistic, but I think they could have done a better job with covering up that obviousness. 

Last and least of my quirks with this film is that some characters seem underdeveloped. This isn't a huge issue, barely noticeable, actually. It just seemed that some characters were more developed than others, and vice-versa. 

Overall, I think Big Hero 6 was an absolutely fantastic movie despite it's flaws. It's academy award was well-earned and I never stopped smiling whilst watching. I highly recommend this movie. It has enough wit and action to keep an adult enthralled, and good pacing and lovable characters for children. 
My final score for this movie is: 90/100 --- A




                  


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Of Topics and Revitalization

So I'm back. Back with a vengeance. Where that vengeance is directed, I know not. It doesn't matter, however. A vengeance can be channeled to something nice, such as re-booting a blog. That's right, I'm back baby. This time, I'm more organized. 

     What I plan to do with this blog is somewhat topical now. Posts will frequently include topics that are attune to my interests. If you honestly don't know those by now, that's okay. I'll just tell. This blog will include (but not be limited to): 
-Movies/Film (All the new things concerning the industry, including my own endeavors.)
-Writing (As you know I have a special place in my heart for writing, so expect it to be a common theme.)
-Creative Expedites (Anything that has to do with the arts or anything creative, I'm your guy.)
-Geeky Indulgences (Can be a subset of the above topics.)

     As well as the new and improved topic design, I'll try to be vigilant with my posting. At least once-a-week, if not more.

I apologize about the petite size of this post, but I felt inclined to give you guys a heads up. Keep your head down and horn up. (No, that doesn't quite fit) 

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