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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Actor Spotlight: Chris Pratt

     For my very first Actor Spot Light, I will be focusing on Hollywood's fastest rising star, Chris Pratt. From living in a van and working as a waiter at Bubba Gump Shrimp, to being in TVs best sitcom (Parks and Recreation), to being in some Oscar contender films, to some of Hollywood's blockbusters. This guy can literally do anything. This guy will be a house hold name in the upcoming years. 
  Chris Pratt is in a few minor things before his work in Parks and Recreation. Most notably in the TV show "Everwood". His first role that really got his career going was playing Andy in Parks and Recreation. He is the best part of the show. The best part is the writers brought him onto the show for a special guest for the first season only. Then guess what happened. He has been in every single episode sence the very first one. He was that good. The writers and produces decided to bring him on again. 
  Pratt has also been in some Oscar films. Only 3 right now but surley more to come. Zero Dark Thirty, Her, and Moneyball. It's always great when an actor starts out as a comedic one turns out to be a great dramatic one to. Those 3 films I just mentioned, where all nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars! World class casting directors see something special in this guy. When he gets bigger in the future, we will get bigger roles in these Oscar films and hopefully be Oscar nominated at one point. 
  Pratt most recently stared as the main voice in the Lego Movie with at least 2 more big blockbusters to come. He is set to star in Jurassic Park 4 titled Jurassic World. Pratt said "Jurassic Park was my Star Wars." Meaning it was his favorite movie growing up. Actors who love the source materiel growing up usually make the movie better then the previous ones. Andrew Garfeild read the Spiderman Comics all the time growing up. And I think he is a better Peter Parker then Toby McGuire. The other blockbuster he is set to star in comes out August 1st, Guardians of the Galaxy. When ever someone is in a MARVEL studios film, it launches their career. Chris Hemsworth is an Oscar caliber actor. It revived Robert Downey Jr.'s career. Believe it or not his career was one bad movie from being dead. Iron Man restored his career. If it can do it with these 2 characters, imagine what it could do to Chris Pratt.
   One more small detail is when Pratt is in a bad movie he is the best part. Delivery Man, he was the best part. Chris Pratt will be a mega star. From a person living in a van, to Hollywood's fastest rising star. This year is the Year of the Pratt and every year to come will be as well.    

The Best Ensemble Casts in Movies

         It's always great when we see so much star power crammed into one movie. If it's a whole bunch of no name actors who eventually turn into house hold names or some already big names. I'm going to give you what I think are the Top 5 best ensemble casts. Keep in mind what I consider to be an ensemble cast is when principal actors and performers are roughly assigned the same amount of screen time and importance in a production. This contrasts with movies that spend more time developing and having focus on one main character. First I would like to give you some Honorable Mentions that are just barley not good enough to make the list or having outstanding cast where everyone does amazing but, spend time only developing one or two characters. The Butler, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Lord of The Rings, and X-Men specifically X-Men 2.    
    The first cast I have to mention is The Dark Knight. I think one of the reasons I really enjoyed this movie over Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises is they spent time to focus on more characters rather then just Batman/Bruce Wayne. Every character with dialogue gets developed and you feel really close to them. Like Commissioner Gordon, Rachel, Harvey Dent/Two Face, espically the Joker! Heath Ledger even won an Oscar for his performance. You can't deny a cast is great when it has an Academy Award winner in it.
   The next cast worth mentioning is the 4 main people in Anchorman. Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Steve Carell, and Will Ferrell. They play so well off of each other. In the first movie Steve Carell's lines were completely or mostly improvised. If you can go along with something that is basically not scripted and still make it a hilarious it's an awesome cast. Not only are the actors great, but the chemistry between them is awesome as well. Is it Oscar worthy? Of course not but, it's still a really good cast.
   There is one that is and should be obvious. The Avengers. One thing the Avengers did so well is they balanced the screen time between characters almost perfectly. Each one had there own time to shine. The obviously have the same amount of importance. It was casted perfectly. I still like Ed Norton's Hulk better but, Mark Ruffalo did an amazing job.
    The next movie is in my top 20 films of all time. The cast of Ocean's Eleven. This is my favorite ensemble cast of all time. No one has even come close to kicking this out of the number one spot. They have some Oscar worthy and some nominated Oscars in George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Casey Affleck, and Bernie Mack just to name a few! If you've seen the movie you know how every one was brought onto the casino robbing team for a reason. Unlike Anchorman where you can tell they are trying to be ridiculous, In Ocean's Eleven, they actually seem serious. 
   There you have it. What I think to be the best ensemble cast in movies. Do you think I missed any? Leave them down in the comments.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Monuments Men Review

     The latest directorial effort by George Clooney is The Monuments Men. It stars Clooney himself, Matt Damon, John Goodman, just to name a few. This movie had Oscar written all over it. It doesn't. Was it a good movie? Yes. Was it Oscar quality? No. No it wasn't.
   I'm going to tell you this right now, if you plan to go see this as a war thriller or a treasure hunt thriller you will be disappointed. You won't be disappointed by the quality of the film, just that is wasn't what anybody expected. It's just a plain old drama. Nothing special about it. The Monuments Men had the chance of standing out from other movies. It unfortunately didn't. It's too bad. This is a good typical drama. It needs more recognition and it deserves better then other people are giving it credit for. 
   There is one negative you can spot at the very first. The pacing at the very first. You have 7 main characters. The introduced them all in less then 5 minutes! What the heck! I want some character development, I want time to get to know these people, I want to feel attached to them so I can feel I'm along the journey with them. The next thing I'm about to say you could count it as a spoiler but, you knew it was going to happen. When someone usually dies in a movie you feel for them and the other characters. When people died I honestly didn't care. I did't know the characters enough to care. I wasn't connected to them like I am with almost every other movie. The pacing was fast until some of the main characters died. Then it went by like this type of movie should. It felt like they wanted to make the people die as fast as they could. Character development is one of the key things to make a movie. This really bugged me. The Monuments Men was 1 hour and 50 minutes. Not even 2 hours! That extra 30 minutes or even 20 could have been used to actually introduce us to the characters properly.
   This is a well put together film (besides the pacing for the first quarter of the film). The acting was great. I wouldn't say it's near Oscar worthy. They casted this perfectly. One thing that I like to see in movies but doesn't hurt it if it's not there is banter between characters. The Monuments Men split up in to groups of 2 people. Everyone of those groups has some bit of banter. It was almost funny and dramatic and the same time. The screenplay was good. It is the scripts fault that the characters were not introduced. The direction and dialogue of this was above average. I really think it should stand out more. I can't give any credit to the story because history wrote it. Go History!
   The Monuments Men is a movie that deserves more attention. It's a great movie that you'll love right when you get out of the theater but, as more time passes by you'll start to forget bits and pieces of it. I guess that means I will have to see this movie again which I'll be glad to. The Monuments Men is a solid 7.5/10. 

The Lego Movie Review

          When they first announced this movie I thought it was just the worst (see the movie to get that reference). The first trailer came out and I laughed my head off. I couldn't wait for it. You might think it looks stupid. Trust me, it is worth every penny you spend. 
    This movie will not bore you. Adults can take their kids to this movie and be more entertained then kids! The parents wont fall asleep. Yes the kids will still be entertained but, they wont get half the jokes. There are some moments/jokes that only some teenagers and most of adults will get and appreciate. I got a good abs workout from laughing so hard. Kids and adults will laugh (just maybe adults a little harder). Thats one of the great things about The Lego Movie. It's not a kid film. It's a kid friendly film. 
    One of the things I liked about this movie is also one of the negatives. The pacing. A joke that makes you laugh comes about every 3-5 minutes with some mild laughter in between. You get so much laughter but it frequently keeps coming and you never get a break. It comes by so fast. It's so frantic and chaotic. The next laugh comes and you forget the previous one. I remember laughing so hard but, I can't remember what I was laughing at.
    Usually I could care less about big named actors doing voice acting. I say go get some professional voice actors. This is the only movie that I can say is made by the voice performance. I can't imagine anyone other than Chris Pratt voicing Emmet. He is the perfect fit for it. I could see others voicing Woody, Sully, and Buzz. I couldn't see anyone voicing Emmet. This is my favorite performance of voice acting. Not only Emmet but everyone else. You could count this as one of the best ensemble casts of recent memory. This is probably the only animated film I would say that for. 
    This movie has heart. There is a part at the end which I didn't expect and proves that point. Some people say it's on the level of Toy Story speaking of the amount of heart it has. It is no where near that but, that is saying a a lot. I still like Toy Story 2 more and The Lego Movie is a very close behind it. There is a message that is so simple kids should be able to understand. 
    The Lego Movie impressed me so much. There is no shock that there is a sequel already in the works. It made it in to my top 5 animations of all time. This movie shall receive a 9/10.

Movies that Deserve to be in Theme Parks

     There are many movies that have inspired theme parks or attractions at theme parks. Such as Harry Potter Land as an extension to Universal Studios, or Cars Land in California Adventure. With The Iron Man Experience coming to Disneyland Hong Kong to Ratatouille coming to Disneyland Paris, even Avatarland coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom. What other movies deserve to be represented in theme parks? I'm going to give you my top 5 movies that need to get represented!
Disney is great at making rides for their attractions. The most recent one being The Little Mermaid. There are not a lot of movies that can transform well like that. I strongly believe Up can. It would be cool to see how they design the sets, and design the cars you sit in. The story has very distinct plot points the ride makers could easily pull from to make the ride.
4.Pacific Rim
There are a whole bunch of 4D rides out there. There is even a Transformers one! If you have a movie with big robots you are a idiot if you don't make a motion capture ride. The park could use the technology from the Star Tours ride. It would be really cool to pilot a Jaeger first hand. You could even control it with a partner. 
I love Haunted Houses. Insidious is one of those few horror movies with a great story line. They could have a part where you actually walk in the house with bloody hand prints on the walls and rocking horses. Then you could go to the further and have weird looking creatures. It would scare the living daylight out of you.
2.The Fast and the Furious
This can be a mixture between Test Track at EPCOT, and The Italian Job ride. You can be stuck on a track going extremely fast. At some parts you could stop and take a look at some stunts. You need to open your eyes to see how great this can be.
This would not be one attraction, but a extension to a theme park. Make it have it's own land. Bigger then Cars Land or the Magic Kingdom. It would be a big indoor building which could represent the grid from the movie. They could have a light bike simulator and everything else that fits into the world of Tron. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Thor 3 and Captain America 3 in the Works

          It's no question that Iron Man has had 3 feature films. With the first one grossing $585.7 million at the worldwide box office, its no question that they went along to make a second one. With Iron Man 2 making $623.9 million. The film made money. With the huge success of The Avengers being the 3rd highest grossing movie of all time making $1.5 billion and with all the positive feedback of Tony Stark/Iron Man they would be stupid if the didn't make a Iron Man 3. They did and that made $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office making it the 5th highest grossing movie of all time. 
    Thor 2 came out in November (go check out my review) and was opened to critical and fan success. It's the 3rd highest grossing movie to take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) making an astonishing $632.9 million. It made more then the first Thor and that is what the studio wants to see. When franchises are making money you want to continue with it. 
    You might be thinking "It made less than Iron Man 3 and The Avengers! They need to make a Iron Man 4!" There are multiple problems with that statement. Robert Downey Jr doesn't really want to do more Iron Man films and Iron Man was by far the most popular part of the Avengers (maybe 2nd behind the Hulk.) Thor is not as popular as Iron Man. Studios don't tend to compare movies from a standalone character in their universe to another one in their universe. What they look at is how much it made based on it's production budget. Thor 2's production budget was $170 million. They made plenty of money off of Thor 2.
    With that being said, Thor 3 has been confermed. is in the works. No plot details have been announced and Chris Hemsworth is expected to return. The co-writer of the first 2 films (Christopher Yost) has been brought on to write the follow up to Thor:The Dark World along with VP of production and development at Marvel Studios Craig Kyle. Kevin Feige had this to say about Kyle."His creative instincts have helped shape “Thor” and “Thor: The Dark World” at every level of the filmmaking process. The entire team at Marvel is very happy to continue collaborating with Craig as he
continues as a screenwriter working with Christopher on the forthcoming chapter of Thor’s adventure."   
     Thor is not the only character to be turned into a trilogy. Captain America 3 is in early development.The first Captain America made $370.5 million on a $140 million dollar budget. It made money. There is no doubt that Captain America : The Winter Soldier will as well.