Archive for movie review

Twilight: The Art of making vampires lame

Posted in books, movies, pop culture, reviews, Twilight, vampires with tags , , , on March 24, 2009 by Paxton

Twilight posterSo, Twilight came out on DVD this past Saturday.  I’ve had people ask me to read the book or see the movie because they want to know what I think.  I’m told I would love the books and/or movie because I love fantasy/sci-fi books.  Well, as a litmus test, I decided to watch Twilight the movie to decide whether I will continue on with reading the books (I got the first book for Xmas).  I admit, I do love vampires (they are, appropriately, AWESOME) and I do enjoy teen fiction, so this should be a good fit.

So I be-bopped on over to Blockbuster on Saturday afternoon and was able to pick up a copy (one of many left on the shelf) of Twilight on Blu-Ray.  Interesting, because I would think that more copies would be gone from the shelves based on the popularity of this movie.  Conversely, the movies Role Models and Sex Drive were gone completely from the Blu-Ray stacks.  I had to pick up these last two in Standard Def (disappointment already).  Anyway, the wife and I ordered pizza and popped Twilight into the DVD player.

Here’s what I thought: Awful.  Terrible.  Horrible.  I realize I’m about to piss off the collective throngs of Team Edward, but it’s got to be said.  This movie is terrible.

Even my wife didn’t enjoy it.  She didn’t hate it like I did, but she said she preferred the movie Watchmen to Twilight, and to me, that speaks VOLUMES about the enjoyment level of this movie.  Acting, script, the portrayal of the vampires in general.  Just plain God-awful.  Stephanie Meyer takes what’s awesome about vampires, rolls it up into a tiny ball and wipes her ass with it.  Then she sets it on fire and pisses all over the ashes.  Everything I love about vampires is stripped away and made into the Harlequin Romance version of vampires.  And Edward Cullen, is the Fabio of this fable.  They may as well have cast Fabio as Edward.

harlequin twilight

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Movie adaptations that are better than the original book

Posted in books, reviews, Watchmen with tags , on March 18, 2009 by Paxton

So you just finished my Weekly Geeks entry about the worst book-to-film adaptation of all time.  What now?  Well, as a bonus, I thought I’d compile a list of movies that are actually better than the original book they were based on. It’s rare when this happens, and it’s the exception, not the rule, but it does happen.  I could think of three.

Let’s begin:

The Natural

The Natural by Bernard Malamud – The movie with Robert Redford and Glenn Close was fantastic. One of the all-time classic baseball movies. The book? Pretty much the same story until the very end.  I guess Malamud thought that Hobbs hitting the home-run that wins the Knights the pennant was too Hollywood.  In this book, Roy strikes out, loses the game and dies penniless, alone and forgotten in a New York City sewer.  There’s actually a bit at the end where someone wonders, years later, what happened to him.  Yeah, that’s a much better ending.

Forrest GumpForrest Gump by Winston Groom – Granted, I’m not a HUGE fan of this movie, but it was sweet and entertaining enough that I don’t hate it. The book, however, receives the full brunt of my white hot hatred.  It contains a lot of the story in the movie, plus so much other utterly  insane crap that several times I had to look at the front of the book to make sure I was still reading Forrest Gump.  Part of the book takes place in the African Jungles where Forrest is lost for years (he even marries a tribal woman from an African tribe he lives with). There’s also an entire section of Forrest going to live with Jenny at college and them doing nothing but having sex everyday. Seriously.  EVERYDAY.  Jenny even mentions it.  And don’t worry, I checked, I was not, in fact, reading the novelization of Forrest Hump, it was Forrest Gump.  That wasn’t the only thing.  He also becomes an astronaut and blah blah blah.  It’s endless monotonous marches through history that we got plenty of in the movie.  But it was more.  And more obnoxiously over-the-top.  Needless to say, I really didn’t like the book.

Watchmen graphic novelWatchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons – I talked about this last week, but I have never been a fan of this graphic novel. The premise and the overall idea that Moore was trying to get across, I loved. However the presentation left a lot to be desired. It seemed dense and all over the place to me. The movie took the book and set it in a more focused timeline and gave you the same ideas that were posited in the graphic novel but in a more satisfying way. So, to me, the movie is better and more enjoyable than the graphic novel. However, I am going to give this novel one more chance (third time is the charm) to wow me, but I’m not expecting any difference than the first two times I read it.

Weekly Geeks – 2009 – 10 – Worst book/movie adaptations

Posted in books, Jumper, movies, Weekly Geeks with tags , , , on March 17, 2009 by Paxton

Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks has really been on a role lately with some very good topics. Last week was the favorite author quotes and this week they want you to discuss what, in my opinion, is the worst book-to-film adaptation ever. Here’s the challenge:

Worst movie adaptations: The recent release of Watchmen based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore got me thinking about what I thought were the worst movie adaptations of books. What book or books did a director or directors completely ruin in the adaptation(s) that you wish you could “unsee,” and why in your opinion, what made it or them so bad in contrast to the book or books?

This is an interesting topic because people can really get bent out of shape when their favorite books are supposedly done “wrong” on the big screen. To me, a book-to-film adaptation has to be taken as something completely on its own.  The movie can be a good movie on it’s own merit, but also still adapt the source material poorly by changing the story or characters.  To me, that’s still a win.  If the movie makers take the source material and make an interesting movie, then I’m happy.  I figure, if the movie is good, maybe it will entice people to check out the source material for themselves. That is a big win, because now more people will read the book and get the author’s original vision. But if the movie turns out, on its own, to be a bad movie, then you have people turning away from the original source, and that’s bad.  So the question is really this; Is the movie bad, or is it just bad because you care so much about the source material you can’t separate the two? It’s the classic “chicken and the egg” syndrome.

So, having said this, I think, for me, the movie that is a poor adaptation of its source book, regardless of its merits as a movie, is Jumper.

Jumper book Jumper movie

I saw this movie without any knowledge of the book, or that there even was a book. I enjoyed the movie as a whole, even though there were flaws. Hayden Christensen isn’t great as the main character. He’s a little whiny and immature. I loved Jamie Bell’s character of Griffin and the entire concept of people born with the ability to Jump. So, overall, this was a good action movie with nice special effects. Then I find out it was based on a series of books. I was intrigued.

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The Movie Board: Worst movies of 2008

Posted in Academy Awards, Movie Board, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , on January 13, 2009 by Paxton

Movie Board

Okely, dokely.  Last week I gave you my 5 favorite movies of 2008.  Now it’s time to talk about the 5 worst movies I saw last year.  If you would like, you can take a look at my five worst movies from 2007 right here.

Looking over the list this year, I noticed that the worst movies, for me, tend to be ones I was super-psyched to go see, but they, for whatever reason, turn out to suck.  HARD.  Just being bad is one thing, but promising massive coolness and then dumping in my lap nothing but a steaming pile of monkey dung is a major faux pas.  I am still one of the few that really wants to see movies on the big screen.  Yes, the other people that go to movies are neanderthals.  They leave their candy and trash all around their seat because “they have people to pick that up” (how hard is it to carry your cup and popcorn bag to the f’n trash, you are going that way anyway).  They answer cell phones in the middle of the movie (Why pay 10 bucks to talk on your cell phone?!).  They talk to their friends during the movie, or make fun of the movie while it’s playing.  So yes, there are plenty of reasons to avoid the “unwashed masses” and watch all your movies at home.  I, however, enjoy the large screen and fantastic sound.  I want to see movies like Iron Man, Dark Knight, Hulk, Indiana Jones and others on the big screen.  That’s how it’s meant to be done.  Now, I’ll usually avoid the evening shows and Steph and I will hit the Saturday matinees where it’s cheaper and less crowded, but we are getting out there.  Seeing the movie in the theater.  So, naturally, after all this, if a movie is uninteresting or just bad, I’ll be pissed that I wasted my energy.

So, as a public service announcement, here are the five movies I believe to be the five worst movies I saw in 2008.  I recommend not watching any one of these stink bombs.

Here they are in no particular order:


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull– That’s right.  I’m saying it.  This was one of the worst movies of 2008.  More to the point, it was one of the most disappointing movies of 2008.  It was not remotely the same Indy we saw in The Last Crusade.  Despite everyone saying that Ford looked great, he looked older.  A lot older.  They could cast Indiana Jones in the next Mummy movie.  Also, Spielberg seemed to be on cruise control.  How flat and uninteresting did this movie look?  Too much CGI, not enough practical.  And the alien aspect was more X-Files and less Indy.  The whole thing felt odd when I saw it.  I wanted to watch it again in theaters to give it another chance but couldn’t bring myself to pay to watch it again.  Maybe I’ll rent the Blu-Ray and give it one more chance.  But I’m sure it won’t be good enough to move off this list.  If they make more of these, I’ll see them, but it will be in a robotic, soulless way, not with any enthusiasm or excitement (in much the same way they made this movie).

X-Files I Want to Believe
X-Files: I Want To Believe– This is right up there with Indiana Jones.  Actually, I found this more disappointing than Indiana Jones.  I wanted to believe (ha! pun) that this movie was gonna rock.  I was exactly who this movie was made for.  I watched X-Files.  I saw the last movie in the theater.  My wife and I watched the first season of X-Files on DVD a month or so before the movie came out.  I was so pumped.  Then, after seeing the movie, I came out of the theater feeling like this movie raped my wife and punched my mother in face.  WTF was that?!  The nostalgia of seeing Mulder and Scully on the big screen again almost brain washed me into thinking the movie was good.  ALMOST.  Alas, it was not good.  At all.  It was like a bad episode of CSI, much less a bad episode of X-Files.  WTF happened?  It’s like Chris Carter crapped in a bucket and that bucket wrote the script for this movie.  I want to cry thinking about it.  If you have fond memories of X-Files, do not see this movie.  EVER.

Disaster Movie
Disaster Movie– Why do they keep making these spoof movies?  Are they making money at this point?  What started out as a very clever idea with Not Another Teen Movie and Scary Movie has devolved into a carousel of comedy abortions.  I thought Epic Movie last year would have bottomed out the genre but this movie hits the bottom, gets out an industrial-sized drill, and starts digging.  It is AWFUL.  This might be the only movie on this list I didn’t have high hopes for and it STILL managed to come in under those expectations.  I was actually embarrassed for the actors in the movie.  There is a HORRIBLE send-up of a High School Musical song that literally had me cringing and looking for the door.  I can’t recommend watching this under any circumstances.  Seriously.  Even hammered with 12 of your best friends, the movie isn’t funny.  You’ve been warned.

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The Movie Board: My favorite movies of 2008

Posted in Academy Awards, Movie Board, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , on January 6, 2009 by Paxton

Movie Board

Well, 2008 is over and the 2009 movie season looms over us like a petulant child, demanding our attention and constantly wanting to be fed and changed. These new movie seasons sure are screaming, poop machines, aren’t they?

Anywho, the Academy is deciding on the 2008 Oscar nominees as we speak (this year’s Oscars are supposed to air on February 22). When the nominees are finally announced (Jan 22), I’ll be sure to let you know what movies made it and also give a little review of how I think the Oscar committee did like I did for last year’s Oscars nominations.

So, on to the movies I saw in 2008. The Movie Board, just to give a small history, was started by me in Dec 2006. I use it to keep track of all the movies I watched that were released on DVD or in theaters during the calendar year. This way I can easily look back at my list at the end of the year and see, at a glance, what my favorite movies were.  Here’s the list for 2007 to refresh your memory.

So, without further ado, here is my 2008 Movie Board with all the movies I saw this year (click the image for a bigger view).

2008 Movie Board

According to its all-knowing dry erase-ness, I saw 49 movies last year.    Just over 4 a month or about a movie a week.  Last year, I was up over 50 movies.  Of course, this doesn’t include older movies not released in 2008 that Steph and I watched from Blockbuster and/or Netflix.  Nor does it take into account multiple viewings because I saw Iron Man, Hulk, Hancock, Jumper, Tropic Thunder and several others at least twice last year (some in the theater and some on DVD).

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2008!! Some of my favorite scary movies

Posted in Alfred Hitchock, AWESOME-tober-fest, Halloween, holiday, humor, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , , , , on October 7, 2008 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Welcome back to Week 2 of AWESOME-tober-fest. Last year I did an article telling you guys about some of my favorite scary books.  It surprisingly became fairly popular and has been seeing steady traffic.  So, this Halloween (AKA AWESOME-tober-fest) I thought I’d list out some of my favorite scary movies.

Now, this won’t be a “scariest movies of all time list”, that’s too easy.  This list is gonna be typically Pax-centric.  It’s all about what I like, my friends.  That’s the only way I can work, ALL ABOUT ME.  So this list will consist of movies that I really enjoy watching but not ones that I would consider the greatest Horror/Monster movies of all time.  You can Google “Greatest Horror Movies” and literally get thousands of results if that’s what you are looking for, but this list will be a bit more nuanced.  And by “nuanced”, I mean “stuff Pax likes”.  If that is also your definition of nuanced, then you’ve come to the right blog.

I’ve put this list in chronological order.  Let us begin.

Dial ‘M’ For Murder (1954) – A Hitchcock classic.  This one really ratchets up the suspense (well, it is Hitchcock).  Also, Grace Kelly is beautiful and wonderful as always.  I prefer her in Rear Window, however, as she has more to do because, make no mistake, this is Ray Milland’s picture.  Oh my lord, this guy is the balls.  Cold, calculating, smart.  He never once loses his calm demeanor despite being grilled by a Sherlock Holmes wanna-be detective.  Ray Milland plays a husband who recruits a man to kill his wife (Grace Kelly).  He has everything planned down to the last detail but something goes wrong and he must try to frame another man for the attempt.  The script for this was originally a theatrical play, and you can tell by how the cameras were setup and everything was filmed.  Also, it was originally released in 3-D, which not many people know, and I got to see it that way on the big screen at the Alabama Theater during Halloween 2003, I believe.  This is a great movie.

Psycho (1960) – Hitchcock, again, at his best.  Anthony Perkins pulls a fantastic performance here as Norman Bates.  It’s easy to see why he was typecast after this movie.  His performance here is so menacing, how could he be seen as anyone else?  FYI…stay away from the sequels.  They are awful.  Psycho II is just embarrassingly bad.  Wishful thinkers tend to say that four is not bad, but they are kidding themselves.  This is the only movie with ‘Psycho’ in the title worth watching (and I’m including American Psycho in that statement too).

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Pac-Man Perfect: 1st Perfect game of Pac-Man played on today’s date, 1999

Posted in 80s, Pac-Man, pop culture, video games with tags , , , , on July 3, 2008 by Paxton

On today’s date, July 3, in 1999, the first perfect score was achieved on the arcade game Pac-Man. This feat was accomplished by the very controversial figure, Billy Mitchell, at the Funspot Family Fun Center in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire. Mitchell was competing with a partner in a US vs Canada video game competition over the Fourth of July weekend. It took him over six hours to complete his “perfect game”.

What, you may ask, goes into getting a “perfect score” on Pac-Man? To reach the maximum score of 3,333,360 points, one must navigate 255 mazes, or “boards”, eating all dots, power pellets and point giving fruit. You must also devour all four ghosts every time you eat a power pellet. After successfully navigating the first 255 boards you will reach the final 256th board, or what is known as the “kill screen” (see pic below). On the 256th maze, there is a bug in Pac-Man’s internal code that affects how the screen is drawn. Half the screen is perfectly clear while the other half is a mess of random characters and symbols. The interrupted drawing of the maze renders this final maze nearly unplayable. You finish your game by acquiring as many points as possible on this “kill screen” before you eventually die.

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