Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Movie Review : Cirque Du Soleil : Worlds Away

The movie is a love story but it is mostly an advertisement for the audience to see these shows live. Each segment of the story focuses on parts of the live shows that you can see in Las Vegas such as O, Ka and Love. Story starts with Mia walking into a circus and is intrigued by The Aerialist whose poster she is given to by a carney. She goes to the tent where The Aerialist is performing and as he is doing his routine he is distracted by her and falls towards the ground but instead of being hurt he is sucked into a sand hole and transported to a fantasy circus world. Mia takes a closer look into the hole and is also dragged into the fantasy world. Once there she goes from tent to tent looking for him and is shown performances while asking them if anyone has seen The Aerialist. Each show has its own distinct feel and look. One is water based with a floating boat battle, while another is a battle between good and evil on a rotating rectangle. There are fun ones such as a trampoline performance with Elvis music playing in the background and another with Beatles music being the theme. She finally gets to the final performance and finds The Aerialist and they are drawn to each at first glance and perform a one on one aerobatic dance on a rope.

Verdict : As a movie it is hard to review as its not in the traditional sense of a movie. Being someone that has seen Cirque shows in person I can appreciate the beauty and talent it takes to do something like this. I have not seen the shows that this "movie" is based on but it does show a good idea of what to expect if you saw it live. As a whole it is an adequate representation of the live shows but it does not compare to the actual show. So for me while enjoyable it is a take it or leave it if you want to see it on the screen but for sure you must catch one of them live as you can not fully appreciate what you see on screen to what you see in person.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Movie Review : The Hobbitt ( High Frame Rate Version )

The first film in a new trilogy which is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy from a decade ago finally hits the big screen after years of starting and stopping. Being the first of the planned three films this one has a lot of set up not unlike Fellowship of the Ring from the other trilogy. Also just like that one the first 30-40 minutes of the film is set in the Hobbitts' homeland of The Shire. It starts with a scene that is set prior to the other trilogy and has an unexpected cameo by a main character from the first trilogy. The film things jumps back 60 years prior to that adventure as we see Bilbo Baggins as a young hobbitt meeting Gandolf the Grey for the first time. We see in flashbacks that the Dwarves were forced out of their mountain home by a great dragon and Gandolf wants to help them to reclaim it with the help of Bilbo. One by one a small groupr of Dwarves arrive at Bilbo's home to go over plans on how to defeat the dragon and take back what was once theirs.The group is small in number but huge in drive and determination to achieve their goal.

Once on the road to the mountain the group come across many of adversaries with the Ogres being the main ones that track and attack them every time they get a chance. One of the new "villains" if you can call them that are best described as enormous rock mountain creatures as they blend in with the mountains. Not truly enemies as they fight amongst themselves but the group are caught up in the crossfires. They also come across friends like the elves who help them with a map that they were having trouble deciphering. Towards the end with the Dwarves, Gandolf and Bilbo all separated from each other fan favorite Gollum pops up and has a very interesting confrontation with Bilbo where a certain little "precious" object makes an appearance.

Verdict : The movie plays like most first parts of trilogies as it mostly sets up the story and characters before the meat of everything comes up in the next two chapters. In my view unlike the Fellowship of the Ring this one had more substantial action for a first chapter. Like the Fellowship, the movie drags while in the Shire but picks once the group departs there. I saw this with the new technology being used, High Frame Rate (HFR), which has 48 frames per second instead of the usual 24 and thought it really adds to the visual. You can really tell the difference and with general special effects so much better now than last time we saw the hobbits all the creatures pop out at you with impressive detail. For fans of the first series there is no question you need to see this if just wanting a good action flick to escape to a THUMBS UP from this viewer. Enjoy and Merry Christmas.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Movie Review : Lincoln

The film focuses on the last four months of Lincoln's life. The story here is how Lincoln beginning his second term in office is in the middle of the Civil War and is trying to push an amendment through Congress to abolish slavery which the Democrats do not want to happen and the Republicans want but don't think it can happen due to they need at least 13 Democrats to flip and support the bill. Interesting how in current time that the Democrats who are supposedly the party of the people always forget that they didn't want slavery to end but say Republicans are the racists people. I will resist from getting too political here.

Daniel Day Lewis is Lincoln and as in most previous films he just dives into his role and disappears and he does that here as well. Sally Field is his wife who should be admitted into a mental institution but Abe holds out hope for his spouse. The movie is pretty straightforward as Abe and his party go about making sure his people support the vote and trying to persuade at least 13 Democrats to flip to their side. All this with the Civil War swiftly coming to a close which Abe has to balance that and the bill as if the war ends he knows he won't be able to get the bill past but if it appears he is holding up the war to get one of his objectives done he will come across as the bad guy. We all know how this ends up as our daily lives reflect what the result was back then.

Verdict : Steven Spielberg is the director, Daniel Day Lewis plays a historical hero, Sally Field is an unbalanced wife. All this together and you would think can't miss picture. I thought so and fed into the hype and the close to 100 million it has already taken at the box office. I was highly disappointed. This movie has a running time of almost 150 minutes and it felt like that and more. The actors do a fine job but the story just dragged on and with you knowing the ending it felt even longer. I'm sure on paper this looked great but it did not translate well to the big screen. I know I am in the minority of this view but unless you really love the principals in this movie or love the time period this gets a THUMBS DOWN from me to watch. Not a terrible movie just an unexpected disappointment.

Movie Review : Silver Linings Playbook

A romantic comedy of a different sort is probably the best and easiest way to describe this film. The movie's title takes from two different themes within the movie and life. People like to see the "silver linings" in hard times and "playbooks" are used in sports which football is a main subject here. So the title though confusing at first glance once you watch the film you understand why the title fits.

The story starts with Pat (Bradley Cooper) being released from a mental institution to the care of his mother. Once home at his parents home we see that he is highly bipolar and an incident with his wife and her coworker at the local high school Pat and they bother taught at is what caused Pat to be institutionalized for eight months. Pat starts on his road in his mind to get his wife back who left him after the incident which includes reading books that his wife used in her teachings. To say the least a lot of them rub him the wrong way which he takes out on his parents. His father ( Robert De Niro ) has his own issues as he is OCD and a major Eagles fan wife a start up bookie business which is putting a strain on everyone.

Pat is invited to a dinner party where he is introduced to Tiffany ( Jennifer Lawrence ) who recently lost her husband and is in her own downward spiral. The "courtship" if you call it that is intense and rife with hard one liners and unfiltered comments from both sides. Quite entertaining but if it was real life you could see them literally killing each other. Tiffany agrees to help Pat try to get his wife back by giving her a letter that Pat has written but can not be given by him due to a restraining order. What Tiffany wants in return is for Pat to join him in a dance contest which her husband always declined to do with her. Pat is torn by the fact that his dad wants to him to be around and watch football with him as he is good "juju" for the team. Tiffany is pulling him the other way for training for the upcoming dance and considering all the crazy personalities involved here they all make crude comments and mean gestures to each other.

The intersecting story lines come to the climax of Pat and his dad betting on the Eagles to beat the Cowboys in a winner take all bet with a fellow bookie and at the same time Pat and Tiffany are trying to have respectable appearance and not totally embarrass themselves at the competition. Pat's ex wife makes an appearance which complicates things even more with Pat and Tiffany and causes more strain for everyone.

Verdict : This was one of the better movies of the year and is in my top 5. Bradley plays against type and does it well and should be up for best actor in 2013. Jennifer looks and acts great while playing a crazy. Supporting cast does it's job and adds to the story. For some a confusing title but for all a THUMBS UP from me to watch this very enjoyable film.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bobblehead of the Day : Ron Cey ( Signed )

I've met the Penguin a few times now and up til this year I had everything I needed already from but now since I collect bobbleheads I know needed his signed. He technically has two as the infield was honored this year with their own set but I was never a fan of that one as it is very hard to get a decent signature on their helmets and I have heard from a few collectors that Ron hates signing those as he takes pride in his signature and he can't what he wants on their legibly. His first bobble is perfect though for signing. I have been getting most of my bobbles signed on the helmets as that is usually the only place you can have them sign. Ron's bobble though comes with him standing at the plate and knowing how Ron can shrink his signature I knew he could put it on the plate.

The Dodgers are holding a mall tour to promote season tickets and mini plans. This past Friday which was also Black Friday the Dodgers were in my neck of the woods at Del Amo Mall in Torrance. The Dodgers had three scheduled to appear and they were Ron Cey, "Sweet" Lou Johnson and Maury Wills. I had Maury's on enough stuff and I wanted Lou's ( which I did get on a bat ) but Ron was who I really wanted. Problem was I had to work and Ron was scheduled to appear from 11:30-1:30 which was a problem. I was able to get off work right before 1 but I still had to travel 15 miles to the mall and thought it would be impossible to find a parking spot and then get over to the signing area. I arrived to the Dodgers area at around 1:24 and luckily Ron was still there and surprisingly there was no one in line which I assume is because since he was there for almost two hours already everyone that was going to see him saw him. Walked up and said my greetings and even though he seem to be not in the best of moods he wished me a good day and signed the bobble right where I wanted. Looks great to me. Thank you again to the Dodgers for hosting another great event and thank you to Ron Cey for signing the bobblehead. Enjoy the pics.