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Brave (2012)

“Brave” (2012) TRAILER

I must admit, while Pixar is the ultimate standard for all things animated, Brave was, unfortunately, slightly disappointing. So far, the storyline is well written, there is a beginning and a conclusion to things, some comedy and certainly several moments where we connected emotionally, but everything, from the magic dessert to the demon bear, lost the beautiful coherence and connection that was once a thing of all Pixar creations.
Our minds were not blown away, at least not this time, and while this is quite a rare thing in itself, it is expected of Pixar to leave us emotionally smitten — this is not the case with Brave.
Brave comes across as a child’s plaything, befitting a rather young audience when compared with Pixar’s “Up” and “Wall-E”.  Well, true, Brave is a very heartwarming animation masterpiece, but from Pixar, let us just say, we expect our breaths to be taken away — sadly, with Brave, all we do is smile and chuckle away with this family flick.
With all this notwithstanding, as with all Pixar creations, Brave is absolutely an animation masterpiece and certainly an improvement in all aspects from the average weekend box office hit — this is, of course, still Pixar.
“Brave” is a 7.5/10
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Game of Thrones

Season 2 Promo

ImageUsually, TV shows are considered the inferior relatives of their greater predecessors, movies.  In this case, fortunately, it is not so.  Game of Thrones, Season 1, an original HBO series, took the world by storm.

Quality.  Game of Thrones is not an average TV show with some grainy images and unrealistic scenes usually seen on TV.  HBO makes its mark with Season 1, with a budget of $60 million, making it the most expensive and definitely one of the largest productions out there, period.  There is no weakness in this one.  It boasts quality and a perfection rarely seen, even in movies.

With quality on the checklist, we move on to the actual content.   Based on the series, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, adapted to HBO by D. B. Weiss and David Benioff, Game of Thrones is beautifully complete, full of intrigue and passion, devoid of  unnecessary dialogue, every scene crucial and important to the development of character and plot.

Cast includes some of the greatest, underrated, undiscovered actors and actresses of the industry: Lena Headey as the ruthless Cersei, Emilia Clarke as the Khaleesi Daenerys, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, Sean Bean as Eddard Stark, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion the Imp, Carice van Houten as the sorceress Melisandre, etc.

Whereas most series fall out after Season 1, Game of Thrones: Season 2 is the only work to ever meet and exceed my expectations and initial prejudices.  It counts as one of the greatest works seen in a long while, may it never fall from its glory.  Game of Thrones is a TV series, yet it ranks among the greatest works ever made.

Game of Thrones Season One was a 9.0/10.

Game of Thrones Seasons Two, so far, is a 9.3/10.  Check in as the Season unfolds!


The Hunger Games (2012)

“The Hunger Games” (2012) TRAILER

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 Scoring an amazing 8.2 within the first week of its release, “The Hunger Games”, based on the series by Suzanne Collins, promises to be something entirely different from the action/romance flicks we have been used to, aka Twilight.

Aside from the fact that Jennifer Lawrence obviously raises the temperature on screen, this masterpiece by director Gary Ross introduces a new look at war and society.

“The Hunger Games” contains plenty of action, yet, while the action is certainly appealing, the true battle lies in the psyche.  Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson are childhood friends forced to fight each other in a coliseum style deathmatch.  They both bring heavy stakes to the table, but only one can survive, making the “hunger games” much more than just shooting arrows at targets and swinging swords at dummies.

In “The Hunger Games”, the real action lies in the heart.

“The Hunger Games” is an 8/10


The Help (2011)

“The Help” (2011) TRAILER

Unfortunately, the trailer for “The Help” fails, completely undercutting this masterpiece brought to us by director Tate Taylor.  Budding actress Emma Stone plays Skeeter, a determined journalist who sets to motion a sequence of events that eventually lead to a battle of words, deeds, and will, all set in a small suburban town.  “The Help” addresses issues of race and feminism in a heartwarming tale that not only gives us a view of the injustices in racism but also the courage it takes to fight against the norm, to fight for what is right.

While this is certainly a rather serious role for Emma Stone, the actress performs well, fleshing out the character in a way that makes “The Help” a very genuine, human, and humble look at the problems that no one wants to address.

“The Help” will be out on 10 August 2011.

Loyalties are tested.  Rules are broken.  Friendships are made.  Watch it.

While I initially gave this an 8/10, I am now editing my rating.  “The Help” is a 9/10, a definite Oscar nom.


Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” (2011) TRAILER

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law return in Sherlock Holmes.  While the plot itself is rather simple, compared to what we have seen in the past couple years, with Inception, The Dark Knight, and Harry Potter completely blowing up what it means to be complex, A Game of Shadows brings us a different type of complexity: intellectual dialogue.

A Game of Shadows is quite difficult to follow, sporting artistically creative dialogue that suggests at everything yet reveals nothing, giving us a glimpse of what it must be like to see the world through the eyes of Holmes.  Unfortunately, the theater does not stop for contemplation, ergo, it is up to the audience to try and dissect the meaning of the dialogue while watching Robert Downey Jr. and Law scramble through the woods, shrapnel flying everywhere, bullets shredding bark and flesh alike.  It is a masterpiece, a true intellectual work that deserves the utmost respect and a secondary analysis.

Now, introduce Jared Harris as Professor James Moriarty, a rather nasty combination.  Harris was an excellent choice for this rather sinister character in that Harris is able to convey the sadistic quality in Moriarty, giving us a chill whenever he tries to smile yet ultimately succeeds in only smirking, grimacing, or whatever it is — a rather unsightly image that fits the character to the utmost.

Holmes meets Moriarty, both are geniuses in the game of shadows, playing people like chess pieces, moving carefully, deliberately, in a scheme to outplay the other.  For once, we see Holmes at a loss, even confessing to a mistake.  Has Sherlock Holmes ultimately found his match?  Watch to know.

Sherlock Holmes is a 8.5/10.


Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)

“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” (2011) TRAILER

Tom Cruise returns from rather unsightly works… of course not referring to Knight and Day… in this action drama.  Ghost Protocol sets itself apart from the previous trilogy in that it incorporates much more than just action.  It stylizes itself with a complex plot, drawing from Ethan Hunt’s past, giving us a view of the Secretary, and introducing newbies and veterans from all directions.

Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg show up as the one with the dark secret and the comic relief, respectively.

While this may come off as yet another Mission Impossible flick, I assure you, Ghost Protocol is at the forefront in its innovative action sequences, bringing you breathtaking stunts and nearly impossible maneuvers.  Ghost Protocol definitely keeps the audience on their feet, bringing gasps and laughs interchangeably.

Tom Cruise is officially back with this one.

Ghost Protocol is an 8/10.


Immortals (2011)

“Immortals” (2011) TRAILER

Immortals offers us a new look at cinematic action.  With Luke Evans and Henry Cavill in this creation from the producers of 300, Immortals’ action choreography is what sets this apart from anything else.  While critics do say that Immortals lacks in story and complexity, it spawns from a generation of great innovation of immortals smashing Titans and epic battles between men and monsters of men.

It is worth it just to go and watch these toned, golden gladiators beat the shit out of each other in fantastic, beautiful flips and kicks.  There is little to say, except that Freida Pinto, Luke Evans, and Henry Cavill are the pawns upon which director Tarsem Singh brings an age of cinema.

Immortals is a 7/10.