Category Archives: The Good Stuff

My Favorite Movie Theater Experiences

Entertainment-the purpose of movies. You go to the theater to have fun, escape  from the troubles of reality, and maybe/hopefully the movie will provoke thought and emotion. These are the movie that gave me the best movie-going experiences. (I’m not saying these are my favorite films, while some of them are, but they are the movies that gave me the best time at the cinema.)

The Dark Knight

Easily one of my favorite movies, this film probably gave me the most intense experience I have ever had at the movies (which is most likely the reason I saw it five times in theaters). The first film in this nearly complete trilogy, Batman Begins, already one of my favorite movies so my excitement for this movie was already sky high when I heard it was being made. I was at the beach the week before this movie came out and while it was supposed to be a period of fun and relaxation, I was suffering from anxiety because of my dire need to see the film. But, that ridiculous amount of excitement just ended up making watching the movie so much more entertaining and relieving.  The entire film had me on the edge of my seat (literally) and I was actually sweating because I was so into the film. The unpredictability of the plot, the emotional toll put on Bruce Wayne, Commissioner Gorden and Harvey Dent, and the philosophical/ethical ideas put forth by the script all added up to one exhilaratingly breathless time at the movies.  There is no doubt in my mind that the final movie in this film’s saga , The Dark Knight Rises, will be just as good of an experience as this epic movie.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Sadly, I wasn’t able to see The Fellowship of the Ring or The Two Towers in theaters though I was able to watch them dozens of time on DVD. I was more excited for RotK than  I had ever been for any other movie. The previous two movies were my favorite movies and I was in dire need of seeing the conclusion of the series. Even though this movie ended up being three-and- a-half hours long, it felt as if it was five minutes. The characters in these movies are some of my favorite characters and I so involved that I just felt it was all real. From the disturbing opening scene to the massively epic battle scenes and to the heart-wrenching finale, I felt as if I really was a part of Middle-Earth. Now this film and its two precursors are my favorite films of all time and I still watch them regularly, even after all these years. I hope and believe that Peter Jackson will replicate the same success with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There And Back Again.

Avatar

When I found out James Cameron was going to direct an “original” sci-fi epic of his own creation all the way back in 2007, I was excited. When the trailers came out I was ecstatic. The visuals amazing and I knew Cameron was a master entertainer (he directed two of my favorite, and in my opinion, two of the best action movies ever with Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgement Day) so I trusted that it would be spectacular.  It ended up being one of, if not the most visually spectacular films ever made. From beginning to end I was utterly stupefied by how great this movie looked and the amount of epic grandeur that Cameron could fit into 162 minutes. The cinematography is some of the best in the past decade and the quality of the special effects is so far unmatched. I know that the film does have its fair share of haters, but what popular film doesn’t? I know the plot is cliche and some of the dialogue is a little to cheesy, but those features don’t stop Avatar from having relatable characters, good old-fashioned story telling, a classic villain who you love to hate,  and moralistic and environmental message which push it far above most other special-effects driven blockbusters in history. It’s definitely not one of the best movies ever, but it sure is one of my favorites and is a film that entertained me greatly.

King Kong (2005)

With Peter Jackson, the director of my favorite movies of all time (LotR), directing a retelling of the classic 1933 film featuring a 25-foot-tall gorilla? How could I, or anyone else for that matter, not be excited? When I saw the trailer for this film back in the summer of 2005 my dreams had come true. I had always had a love/obsession with dinosaurs and animals so a movie that has dinosaurs fighting gorillas is obviously going to play right into my ballpark. I ended up loving every second of the film, and when it came out on DVD, I annoyed everyone in my house because I watched it so often. It was Christmas time when the movie was released in theaters and the day I saw it school was cancelled because of snow, so it was already an great day, later perfected by the enjoyment of seeing this awesome movie.  It is another film that is so visually spectacular that you might as well not pick your jaw up off the floor because you’ll just have to do it another twenty times. The film is also very emotional for me as an animal lover because I just felt so much sympathy for the lonely, misunderstood ape.  Though the movie does suffer from some over-the-top scenes and a bit too much CGI, I still love the film. Many people complain about its length (190 minutes) but almost all of that length is either leading to character development or awesome action scenes, two things that I think add a good deal of quality to the a movie

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“Halo”: The Movie That Needs to be Made

Halo: The Movie that Almost was and Could Definitely Be

Halo has been one of my favorite franchises ever since I played the first game a little less then a decade ago. Now I own every game, and novel,  that take place in the Halo universe. Thousands no, millions, of people have been begging for a Halo movie ever since the first game (Halo: Combat Evolved)  graced the original Xbox back in 2001, and we almost got one too.

In 2007, when Halo‘s popularity was at its peak, Peter Jackson, the Academy Award winning director of Lord of the Rings and King Kong, was teaming up with his prodigy, Neil Blomkamp director of District 9, to direct a Halo movie. They started pre-production (planning, concept design, story-boarding etc.) and continued to work on the film for several months but in the end they could not get the funding for the movie because of the dumb politics of Universal and Fox. So the movie that could have been the event of the decade fell apart, and since then has not been really getting too much attention from Hollywood producers. At least we got District 9 out of it, which ended up being utterly brilliant, showcasing Blomkamp’s talent, and becoming one of my favorite movies.

The reasons why a Halo movie could be so phenomenal are its epic scope, thrilling story, and great characters. While it might not seem like the stories in the games are really all that interesting, the books greatly expand on the events that take place in the Halo universe and make them much more gripping. The first Halo novel, “The Fall of Reach”, is actually a prequel to the first Halo game and displays the awesome backstory of Master Chief, the hero of the Halo universe. This great book is what I want the first movie  to be based on.

Synopsis of the Book (from back cover): “Legends are not simply born… They are willed into existence. Humanity has expanded beyond the Sol System. There are hundreds of planets we now call “home.” The United Nations Space Command now struggles to control this vast empire. After exhausting all strategies to keep insurrections from exploding into interplanetary war, the UNSC has one last hope. At the Office of Naval Intelligence, Dr. Catherine Halsey has been hard at work on a top secret program that could bring an end to all this conflict…and it starts with seventy-five children, among them a six-year old boy named John. Halsey never guessed that this little boy would become humanity’s final hope against a vast, alien force hell-bent on wiping us out. This is the story of John 117… the Master Chief, and of the battles that brought humanity face-to-face with its possible extinction.”

To give a little more detail, the seventy-five children are all kidnapped from their families and then trained and bio-augmented to become super-soldiers called Spartan II’s .  The can lift, thousands of pounds, run more than twice as fast as an Olympic sprinter, jump straight over a twenty-foot wall, and can move five times faster than a normal human. They end up wearing highly sophisticated (and frickin’ sweet-looking) armor that projects an over-shield and amplifies their strength, speed and agility, while giving them all sorts of needed intel.

Sounds pretty great right? On screen, with a few diversions from the book, this story would be truly epic. The story also has many themes that I think could really resonate with the audience: Brotherhood and loyalty between the Spartan soldiers who, together, were trained from the age of six to be the greatest warriors earth has ever known; great despair and loss in the face of an enemy so powerful, vicious, and advanced; and the hope that these now legendary warriors give to humanity. I believe the tone should be in line with something like the Lord of the Rings with maybe a little less humor and a good bit more violence. It would end up being rated R though if I had my way.

This part of this movie that has the most potential is the visuals. Enormous space and land battles involving millions of people and thousands of vehicles, taking place on hundreds of different planets. The the fighting ability of the Spartans, and their alien counterparts called “Elites”, could lead to some simply amazing action scenes. When visualizing what the movie could look like just think Avatar meets Star Wars, with some Aliens (1986) and maybe a little bit of The Thing (1982) thrown in. It just a huge, sci-fi, war movie on the largest scale imaginable.

The Halo games all have some of, if not the best soundtracks ever in the gaming business and the main Halo theme could translate to the big screen extremely well. Marty O’Donnell composed those soundtracks and I don’t know if he’s up for a movie of this size, but he should get a chance to try. He’s never really had the resources that people like John Williams or Hans Zimmer have so with a whole orchestra and studio to himself he could probably come up with something awesome. If not there’s always people like the aforementioned Williams and Zimmer along with many other big name composers who could rework the game scores into something amazing. The Halo music is already one of the most recognizable themes out there.

I know this sounds ridiculous, but my dream is to one day become a screenwriter/director and this is honestly my dream movie. I know exactly how I want the film to look, feel and sound and just know it could end up being something that’s extremely awesome. The thing is a good Halo movie would require a very large budget, most likely 200 to 300 million dollars to accurately depict the scope and scale of the Halo story, and it would be a one-in-a-milli0n chance that I would ever be in control of a movie that size.

Just to show you just a small taste of what a Halo movie could look like, here are two great live-action trailers made for the games Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST.

Both of those are pretty awesome right? They’re great and they were made with relatively small budgets when compared to feature length movies. A good Halo movie would no doubt make tons of money and could definitely start a series that is based on the games, but they need to get someone with a lot of talent to be in charge of these productions, and in order to be good, the person must also care about the universe and sincerely know that they have to do it justice. I have no doubt that, if in the right hands, Halo could be the best sci-fi epic ever put on the big screen.

My 10 Most Anticipated Movies of the Next Five Years

There are many great looking movies coming out over the next several years but these are the ones I am looking forward the most with the information I know about them.

The list is  in order from least to highest anticipated.

10.

The Amazing Spider-Man

July 3rd, 2012

© 2011 - Sony Pictures

Directed by Marc Webb

Starring: Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), Martin Sheen (Uncle Ben), Sally Field (Aunt May) and Rhys Ifans (Doctor Connors)

I like the idea of rebooting the franchise and going in a whole new direction. I personally loved the original Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 is one of my favorite movies and is, in my opinion, one of the greatest sequels of all time but, Spider-Man 3 is one of the most disappointing movies I have ever seen. This new series is the chance for Spider-Man to redeem himself and get back into the spotlight. The cast is amazing (no pun intended) and from what I’ve seen the tone of the movie seems to be much darker than it was in the previous series. Also the main villan is the “Lizard” and which is awesome considering he is one of the coolest villans out of Spider-Man’s gallery of rogues. Hopefully this will be among my favorite superhero movies when it releases.

9.

John Carter

March 9th, 2012

© 2011 - Walt Disney Pictures

 

Directed by Andrew Stanton

Starring: Taylor Kitsch(John Carter), Mark Strong (Matai Shang), Lynn Collins(Dejah Thoris), Willem Dafoe (Tars Tarkas),  and Brian Cranston(Powell)

For information on the story and the books this movie will be based on, here is the Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Princess_of_Mars

A huge, sci-fi/fantasy epic from the guy who directed WALL.E and Finding Nemo? Count me in. This also has a great cast and will be using the same 3D and motion capture-technology that James Cameron used on Avatar. It’s been in production for a while now and we will hopefully be seeing the first footage very, very soon.

8.

Pacific Rim

July 12th, 2013

Directed by Guillermo Del Toro

Starring: Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day

In the future, a rift opens up in the Pacific Ocean and colossal monsters make their way out of it. The world must now unite to face this gigantic threat and in doing so they create sky-scraper sized, human piloted mechs to fight these enormous creatures. Probably the most awesome plotline ever right? The director is one of the greatest in the business ranging from  foreign classics such as Pan’s Labryinth to big comic-book movies like Blade II and the Hellboy movies. Del Toro has been quoted on saying “this will be the biggest monster movie ever made.” I’m ridiculously excited.

7.

Prometheus

June 8th, 2012

 
Directed by Ridley Scott
 
Starring: Idris Elba, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, and Ben Foster
 
It’s an Alien prequel that  isn’t an Alien prequel. Yeah it doesn’t make much sense to me or many others who, like me, read movie on a daily basis but I don’t really care, we will know soon enough. We do know that it does take place in the same universe (on an unknown planet) as the original Alien films and that it deals with the creature in the picture above which is now referred to by movie fans as the “Space Jockey.” It is also directed by the same man who helmed the first movie in 1979, the great Ridley Scott (director of other classics such as Gladiator, Blade Runner, and Black Hawk Down). It’s  an all new story with new characters, and another great cast. It’s going to be epic and I can’t wait.
 

6.

Man of Steel

December 2012

Henry Cavill Superman Man of Steel

Fan art depicting Henry Cavill as Superman

Directed by Zack Snyder

Starring: Henry Cavill (Superman/Clark Kent), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Russel Crowe (Jor-El/Superman’s real dad), Julia Ormond (Lara/Superman’s real mom), Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), and Michael Shannon (General Zod)

Zach Snyder(300, Dawn of the Dead) definitely has a unique visual style to his movies and I personally love it but he has never really made a “great” film.  Hopefully now with the guidance of his Executive Producer, the amazing Christopher Nolan, and the writers of The Dark Knight, he create his own new take on Superman that has the quality and depth of Nolan’s films but the visual flair of Snyder. Superman is the first and greatest superhero and the potential is definitely there to make the biggest, and possibly best,  superhero movie yet.  I don’t think people understand how epic a Superman movie could be. The guy has taken on all-out alien invasions by himself, smashed planets with his bare hands and flown directly through stars unscathed (I know I could have said “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound ” but that doesn’t really show what he can actually do).  That’s the kind of stuff I want to see in a movie. Hopefully we will.

5.

Elysium

March 1st, 2013

Directed by Neil Blomkamp

Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copely, William Fichtner, and Alice Braga

Neil Blomkamp has only directed one movie and its one of my favorite movies ever: District 9. That movie was a sci-fi masterpiece and will surely become a classic. In Blomkamp I trust. His next movie has an 120 million dollar budget, four times that of District 9, and he knows how spend his money. We don’t know very much but we do know that:  it takes place about 150 years in the future, Jodie Foster is the head of state on an alien planet, the scale will be much bigger compared to District 9, it will be very violent, and will cover many sociopolitical ideas. Too bad we have to wait almost two years.

4.

The Avengers

May 4th, 2012

The Avengers teaser Poster

Directed by Joss Whedon

Starring: Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Scarlet Johansson (Black Widow), Colbie Smolders (Maria Hill) and Tom Hiddleston(Loki).

I’m pretty sure everyone and their grandmother is looking forward to this movie as it has so much potential to be great. Putting all these great superhero’s together in one movie is one big task but I have pretty good faith in Joss Whedon. The entire world is expecting this movie to be amazing and Marvel Studios has not let us down yet. Rumor has it that the plot revolves around Loki using a powerful object called the cosmic cube to summon an alien race called the Skrulls which the Avengers would then have to battle on earth. Sounds pretty darn awesome. Bring on May 4th, 2012!

3.

The Avatar Sequels

December 2014 and 2015

Directed by James Cameron

Starring: Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), Zoe Saldana (Neytiri)

Avatar is one of my favorite films of all time but I know it has a couple of flaws. It had a couple bad lines of dialogue and it was very predictable but I still loved it. Sure, the main story-line has been used many times before but it was well told, epic and had a very original set-up.  I compare Avatar to Star Wars all the time because they are not the best written movies ever but the stories are amazing, the world is so immersive and they both have characters we care and want to know more about. Avatar is, in my opinion, the most visually astounding movie ever made. The fact that this is being made into a trilogy has me so excited. I also really want to see the underwater side of Pandora that Cameron just promised he would show us. Also, James Cameron is the master of sequels with classic movies such Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Let’s just hope he can use his sequel magic on these.

2.

The Dark Knight Rises

July 20th, 2012

Tom Hardy as Bane, the main villan from The Dark Knight Rises

 Directed by Christopher Nolan

Starring: Christian Bale (Batman), Anne Hathaway(Catwoman), Tom Hardy (Bane), Michael Caine (Alfred), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (John Blake), and Marion Cotillard (Miranda Tate)

Ok I don’t know a single person who didn’t like The Dark Knight. It is commonly accepted as the greatest comic-book movie ever made and is in my opinion, one of the best movies of all time. There is no more trusted director other than Nolan and with good reason. I have seen every movie he has directed and every single one is no where close to being bad.  I don’t expect that to change either. There are a bunch of new additions to a cast that was already superb, a great,multi-dimensional villan in Bane, and the inclusion of Catwoman should create an interesting dynamic with Batman. This series is hopefully going to go down as one of the best trilogies in movie history. 

1.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again

December 14th, 2012 and December 19th, 2013

Directed by Peter Jackson

Starring: Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Martin Freemen (Bilbo), Richard Armitage (Thorin), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Luke Evans (Bard the Bowman), and Mikael Persbrandt (Beorn)

The Lord of the Rings are my favorite movies. They have everything you could possibly want in a movie: action, adventure, emotion, and humor. They were also some of the most visually impressive, and epic, movies ever made. The Hobbit is a much different story and is smaller in scale  than the sequels but I can’t wait to see Peter Jackson’s spin on it.  I am also glad that he is splitting it into two parts so he can capture everything that happened in the novel. Jackson is also adding elements from other books that take place during the same time period into the movie. I’m just  so glad these movies are finally getting made by the same man who directed the original trilogy. These next couple years are going to go by so slowly waiting for this.