Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Toy Story 3" - in theaters

I love going to see animated movies because often times they have the funniest lines and sweetest moments. I wasn't disappointed with "Toy Story 3", for it had both.

It's been quite a number of years since the last Toy Story, and not only has the audience aged, but Andy has as well. He's about to go off to college, and our favorite group of toys spends their days in Andy's old toy box, using every trick in the book to try and get Andy to play with them. But it doesn't work.

Due to a mix-up, our favorite misfits end up being donated to Sunnyside Day Care, where everything really isn't all that sunny. Woody tries to convince everyone to go back home, because life in the attic isn't all that bad, and anything beats Sunnyside. But alas, the other toys don't listen, and choose to stick it out. Woody (voice of Tom Hanks), through a series of events, ends up going home with a little girl whose mother works at Sunnyside, coming back to Sunnyside, and then orchestrates a jail break.

Overall, I found the movie to be very sad in many ways. All those toys wanted was someone to play with them, and it breaks your heart to watch Andy toss them aside in the beginning of the movie. But on the flip side of the coin is the moment when Andy discovers that those toys would be of more use belonging to someone who can appreciate them. And it still makes you cry.

I loved a lot of things about this film. I loved the toys that belong to the little girl that Woody goes home with. They're like a group of improv actors who praise Woody for his "natural" ability. I love when Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) goes into his Spanish mode and seduces Jesse the Cowgirl (Joan Cusack) with his dance steps and swaying hips. I love the beginning play sequence when you see a zillion Troll dolls playing "the orphans".

In the end, this movie is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching, and I cried my face off.

So on the CWeave scale, I give this movie a 10. It's everything you come to expect from a Pixar film with characters that feel like old friends. It made me yearn for the day when I would play with my Barbies or my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for hours on end. When there were no video games or DVDs to watch, and all you had was your imagination.

Monday, July 5, 2010

"The Last Airbender" - in theaters

There are some movies that when I watch the preview for, I know right off the bat that it's going to be horrible. Generally I avoid those movies because usually my money is wasted.

I didn't avoid it this time.

I was convinced to see this movie on Student Day at the theater, which meant it was cheaper, but I still paid too much. Not to mention that we saw it in 3D, which always makes it more expensive. And again, I don't really understand the whole "let's put everything in 3D" notion that has been plaguing Hollywood lately. Personally, I like 2D. But whatever.

So anyway, this film is based on the cartoon series named "Avatar", but surprise, surprise, they couldn't name the movie that because of frickin' James Cameron. It focuses on the story of Aang, who emerges from an ice bubble with these tattoos all over his head, signaling that he's an Airbender. Don't know what that means? Well, apparently the earth is divided into four nations: the water nation, the fire nation, the earth nation, and the air nation. These nations were kept peaceful by the Avatar, who communicated with the Spirit world, and was very wise and what not. Well, 100 years previously, the Avatar disappeared and the fire nation went on a power trip, conquering all of the other nations, and exterminating the entire Air nation because the next Avatar was supposed to be one.

So that's why Aang's airbending tattoos are such a big deal.

Now, Aang befriends two people from a Water tribe (Jackson Rathbone of "Twilight" fame, and Nicola Peltz), who swear that they're going to look after him. Easier said than done when the Fire nation's King's son, Prince Zuko (Dev Patel) want to capture him to reclaim his honor.

It's all way more complicated than it should be. And apparently, this movie is just one of four that can be made, which kind of makes me want to weep. Because here's the thing: while the special effects were pretty awesome (but there's really no need to see it in 3D), the dialogue and acting are atrocious. And no, I'm not being harsh. I'm pretty sure M. Night Shamalan was like, "Okay, here's the dialogue. There's no need to act." It's amazing to me how he gets funding for his films anymore, considering that they've all gone down the crapper recently.

The only person who does a decent job is Dev Patel, but his acting is so over the top (which, according to my friend, is how the character acts in the cartoon) that it seems ridiculous. He took it to an extreme while the others didn't take it anywhere.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 4.5. It only gets that high because of the effects, because let's face it: it's short on acting and on humor. Apparently the cartoon is quite funny, but it seems M. Night decided to suck the fun out of the film version. Shame on you, dude. Shame. On. You.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

"Eclipse" - in theaters

I'm not proud to say that I saw this movie at midnight. But again, I thrive on all of that teen vampire angst and all-consuming love that how could I NOT go to the midnight showing??

That being said, I must admit that I thought "New Moon" was better.

Now, you can call me shallow, but I couldn't really get past the fact that Bella (Kristen Steward), Edward (Robert Pattinson, or as I like to call him, Cedric Diggory), Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), and Rosalie (Nikki Reed) all looked HORRIBLE. Bella's wig was wretched and never seemed to be brushed. Edward needed some serious manscaping on those eyebrows of his. Jasper just looked creepy, but worst of all was Rosalie. Couldn't they have at least TRIED to make her look like a natural blond? Speaking as one myself, I was really offended with her pitch black, really high-arched eyebrows. Plus, her skin looked gray like a zombie's, not white like a vampire's.

Jacob (Taylor Lautner) looked hot as shit though, and I was pleased that the girls screamed when he came on the screen but didn't for Edward.

But I digress.

As for the plot, I haven't read the book from start to finish in quite a while, but for the most part, the storyline ran parallel. In the movie they focused a lot on the creation of the vampire army, which I really enjoyed. And like the book, pretty much all Bella and Edward talked about was how much they loved each other and whether or not Bella was going to be changed and when. You feel for Jacob, hardcore, because he is SO the better choice, which even Edward recognizes, but Bella has her personality and life so tied in with Edward's that it's no contest.

This is why I find Bella Swan to be an appalling role model. A woman shouldn't lose her autonomy in a relationship, and Bella loses herself so completely in Edward, that when he leaves (like in "New Moon") she doesn't know how to cope, and simply becomes a shell. This is the definition of an unhealthy relationship.

That's my inner feminist talking.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 6. Points off for the bad wig and overgrown eyebrows, but bonus points to Lautner, who has really matured quite a bit and is becoming quite the little actor. And he hardly ever wears a shirt. BONUS.