Don’t Judge a Movie by its Source Material

I’ve been really excited about one of my recent library book check outs.  It’s the Cowboys and Aliens Graphic novel, that I thought inspired an adaptation to movie form.  Actually, after being disappointed with the graphic novel, I decided to check the history of Cowboys and Aliens.  The idea for the movie was initially conceptualized in 1997 by Malibu Comics founder Scott Mitchell Rosenberg.  A script for the movie was written in 2001 and then rewritten in 2004.  In 2006, Rosenberg decided to publish this graphic novel.

So, the comic is a story about settlers traveling to a destination where they were promised land in a boomtown.  The Native Americans aren’t happy about this since, the land belongs to them.  An alien spacecraft crash lands and brings an army to take over the planet.  The settlers and Natives have to work together to remove the alien threat, and learn to live together.

Let’s continue the history of the movie.  In 2007, another new script was written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.  These are the guys responsible for Transformers, Star Trek, Watchmen, and The Legend of Zorro. In 2009, Jon Favreau signed on as the movie’s director.

So, if the movie was finished before 2006, the movie would have been just a sad B-movie that nobody would be interested in.  Now that we have some real talent onboard, I’m hoping this is going to be the breakout movie of the year.

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Movie Bites Review – Thor

Verdict: Watch it!
Rated: ♣♣♣♣
Watch in 3D? Yes

Here comes another superhero origin story for the next Avenger to be featured in his own self-titled film. Thor, a Godlike superhero, falls to earth forced to understand his father’s will. Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly), this was a well done superhero film, there was a great mix of humor, drama, and action that left me wanting more, yet feeling satisfied with what I had seen. I’m really happy that we’re getting past the campy, B-movie style super flicks like “Batman and Robin” and “Spiderman 3” (although, I thought the first Spiderman was great).

The mighty Thor was played by a tall, buff, and charismatic Chris Hemsworth. He was great as he was able to pull off both the fierce and arrogant side of Thor as well as making the audience laugh as he made his way as a Norse God among mere earth mortals. He rounds up the movie with a few dramatic scenes that really make you feel for Thor.

Thor’s brother and nemesis, Loki, was played by Tom Hiddleston. He played the mischievous God well, as from the beginning of the movie until the end, you feel as though you could not trust him. The subtle dialogue in the beginning, and his actions throughout the movie have such power over our perceptions.

There were several key supporting roles, including Dr. Jane Foster and Thor’s father, Odin. Jane Foster was played by Natalie Portman. You know how I feel about her, from Your Highness. She is a highly talented actress lending her talents to yet another movie geared towards young men (Let’s see, Star Wars 1-3, V for Vendetta, Your Highness, No Strings Attached). In this movie, I feel as though the character wasn’t drawn out enough. She is the love interest of Thor, yet I felt like she was just the love acquaintance. Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins, is the narrator and key to much of Thor’s trials and tribulations. This would be the perfect movie to be watched by a father and son because of Odin’s influence in the movie.

The plot itself is typical for a superhero movie. You watch a superhero go through the trials put forth upon him to become the hero we expect him to be. In this story, though, we mix modern day earth with Norse mythology and aliens. I don’t want to give much of the story away, so I won’t go any deeper than this.

Favorite tidbits in the movie (WARNING: There are a few SPOILERS here)

There are a few scenes that I love from the movie. First, he’s at a hospital yelling “How dare you attack the son of Odin!”. Second, he gets hit by a car not once, but twice by the same person. Third, Stan Lee is a redneck truck driver. Fourth, Thor loves coffee so much he has a smashing time.

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Movie Bites Review – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Rated: ♣♣♣♣♣

In the year 1989, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade hit the theaters and earned a whopping $50 Million the first week of its release.  I didn’t watch it when it first came out, but I’ve loved the entire Indiana Jones series (okay, maybe not the fourth one so much) since I first watched them as a kid.  And today, it was on Spike TV and I couldn’t help but enjoy the movie all over again.  They don’t really make movies like that anymore, which makes me really sad.  You have all the action, and the subtle hints of comedy.  I’m going to do a quick summary, so if you haven’t watched it… wait… if you haven’t watched it, I’m very disappointed in you right now. Stop reading, and watch it NOW!

The movie started with Indiana Jones as a kid, and shows why he loves adventures, hates snakes, and respects the proper ownership of ancient artifacts.  Jones is hired by an art collector to find the Holy Grail, which Indiana’s father was searching for until he went missing.  The adventure takes them through Italy, Germany, and the Middle East.  Which results in a great mythical puzzle at the end.

Seriously, I am going to have to watch the entire series all over again.  And while we’re at it, let’s make sure we all watch Cowboy’s and Aliens!  Hopefully, there won’t be any crystal skulls.

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Movie Bites Review – Your Highness

Verdict: Watch it!

I had a lot of fun watching Your Highness this weekend and want to encourage you to check it out.  Based on the reviews, you could tell that the critics hated it.  Rotten Tomatoes gave this medieval comedy a low 29% (4/8/11) when we decided that we really wanted to watch it.  As you can see, we decided to listen to our instincts and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Prince Fabious (James Franco) goes on a quest to save his captured bride-to-be, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), from the clutches of the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux.)  He enlists the help of his good-for-nothing brother, Prince Thadeous, on a perilous journey to face a molestruous catfish seer, backstabbing assassins, a bunch of crazy naked people, and a horny Minotaur.   Joining them on the quest are Thadeous’ man-servant, Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker) and the fearless warrior girl, Isabel (Natalie Portman).

The acting in this movie… wait if you are watching this movie for the acting you are watching it for all the wrong reasons.  The movie has a lot of awkward situations, in-your-face funny scenes, and gratuitous eye-candy.  Women will love to watch James Franco remove his shirt the way teenagers and moms love it when Taylor Lautner removes his shirt in Twilight.  Men will love seeing Isabel’s backside as she dives into a lake.  Most of the fun was trying to see what was going to happen to the characters next.  What kind of trophies will Prince Thadeous bring home in triumph?  Will Fabious save Belladonna?  Find out when you watch Your Highness!

Rotten Tomatoes: 25 (4/10/11)
MetaCritic: 31
IMDB: 63

The movie left me wanting to play Shadows Over Camelot.  That’s a board game that we’ve recently been getting into.  I’ll tell you more about it later.

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The Black Swan Experience: I Was Perfect – April 2, 2011

A reader just passed along this note about a Black Swan preview night.  I thought it was strange, since the movie has come out a while back.  And the movie is on DVD/BluRay starting this week. Well, it’s a free showing, and there will be prizes.  I wonder if Natalie Portman or Mila Kuniz will be there.  If so, that would be awesome!  Anyways, it’s in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Check out the invitation here.

RSVP for you city here.

There’s a little web game you can play, but it’s kind of lame and just ends up with a video clip of the movie designating you as a black or white swan.  I got the black swan.

Click here to try.

Here’s the video I got.


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