Monday, December 19, 2005

Review of King Kong

King Kong: C

Spoilers ahead....

My expectations for this movie were low... and they were barely met. What I was hoping to get from this film was lighthearted entertainment and maybe a couple of cool action sequences. What I got was three hours of gratuitous scenes that should have ended before they started. The first third of the film, and consequently the first hour, was all build up. This is what I think Peter Jackson does best because of his early career in horror flicks. He knows how to build up tension and he does this expertly. This was in fact my favorite part of the film. He concretely and beautifully build the world of the Depression and gives it the feel of an old 1940's film. Then there is a boat ride, which last quadruple the amount of time it should and finally in an unimpressive storm they are washed ashore Skull Island. My second favorite part of the film follows as the crew stumbles on tribesmen who are both creepy and perfectly costumed. It is after this first hour that we finally meet Kong, and the movie begins to go downhill. From here on out it is one over the top, unnecessary scene after another. First there is a fifteen minute Brontosaurus chase which is completely unbelievable. They have a herd of Brotosaurus being chased by tiny raptors who are not satisfied by catching just one, aparently want the whole herd and the humans to eat. Then there's a colossal T-rex vs Kong fight which is about twenty minutes and ridiculous. At one point there is a Tyranasaurus stuck in a slew of vines, unable to move his upper body, but still pushing off a wall in order to try to eat Naomi Watts. I think Peter Jackson gives these dinosaurs too much credit or else just really wanted to use a shit ton of CGI. And then there is the Kong/Naomi Watts love story. Peter Jackson has a knack for making cheesy scene to milk emotion and I feel like he throws then in to piss me off. No one in their right mind would buy into this crap I thought to myself in the theater, but as I was leaving, low and behold a woman in the back of the theater is sobbing her eyes out for poor Naomi who lost her Kong. So what did I get out of this film? I learned that people are stupid and gullible and will buy into any crap and that dinosaurs love to eat white people so much that they will do anything to get them, even if it means they have to die. If you are going to make me sit throught three hours of a film, make sure its all necessary and interesting.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Review of Chronicles of Narnia

Chronicles of Narnia: C+

It is rare nowadays that when I dislike a big Hollywood Blockbuster, that it had nothing to do with the crappy CGI. Interestingly enough, the Digital animation is one of the only redeeming qualities of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Therefore, let me begin this review by praising Disney for once again doing an excellent and believable job of blending live action and CGI, (save for a few cheesy green screen shots). So with no further ado, the criticism. I understand that the storyline was written for children and this is the main drawing audience for the film, but come on. I think that we should give more credit to children and write screenplays that are more engaging and have more complicated dialogue that is not so explanitory and doesn't rely on modern one liners for entertainment. The result of these oversights was a very boring film that built up to the battle with slow and deliberate pacing. So naturally I was waiting eagerly for some showstopping action that would knock my pants off and blow me out of my seat. That did not happen. It was almost the opposite, in fact, as there were moments where I felt my eyelids droop and my conscience flutter to more interesting things than the movie I was watching. I am sick and tired of large scale battles in movies where the viewer can not even tell what is going on and thus is forced to create the battle in his own mind. If I wanted to do that I would just read a book. This is essentially just another epic akin to Lord of the Rings with more of the same corny music, fluff for a plot, and bad kid acting. Of course I am an overcritical person and my experience was slightly jaded by the fat couple sitting next to me who, despite all my shushing, continued to comment on the movie with such gems as "Azland... I bet that's the Lion. You, know like in the title." Many of you will go and see this movie and be mezmerized as my roomy James, who I can't fault for being able to let his guard down, but as I see it this is just another piece of generic crap with some beautifully executed CGI.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Amazing Commercials

So I have an appreciation for well done commercials. They can often be even more entertaining than the show you're watching. These are a few of my favorites.

Singin in the Rain

Photos for an Imperfect World

Imposssible Field

Angry Chicken

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Cheating the Mrs.

This is the film that I made while I was in Prague durring the summer of 2004 with Corey Eisenstein and Ashley Beecher. The quality of this post is not as good as the original, but at least it is now viewable. So enjoy and let me know what you think. Follow the link below.

Cheating the Mrs.

Monday, November 14, 2005

About Joe

About Joe
By James Riviere

I have known Captain Pickard since the first day of College. Being his roomate freshman year and now senior year, and best friends in between, I can confidently say you all should take my words seriously, as it was written in stone.

Joe is.... See, the thing is that Joe is not easily described. His personality is not the type to be to put in a box. Fuck boxes. But in the limited space I have, I will attempt the impossible.

Albert Einstein once said: "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence."
Joe loves life and all it posesses, yet hates, and I man HATES, stupid shit. Lesson #1: Dont say stupid shit around Joe, because its stupid and he doesnt tolerate stupid people.

Albert also said: "You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created." Joe doesn't see the world as we do, nor should he. Lesson #2: Don't be up in his grill about realism and accepting shit as is. You know why? Because shit aint that simple to Joe. Get out of here with your simplistic pee-brains!

Anatole France said: "To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe." Joe aint afriad to dream. Lesson #3: All you sucker mc's who sit and dream and never act about how the world should be and surmise to the notion of how things "have to be done," you too...get out of Joe's biznass. This boy is gonna dream. And when all you suck-a-ducks are asking "why?" Joe will look you dead in the eye and say, "why not?!"

So next time you wake up from a bizarre dream, or all of a sudden see the world in absurdities, or have an idea that goes against all rational thought, DON'T repress it like you usually do...drop Joe a line. For all you other 9-5 biatches looking for picket-fences and 3 kids with a shit dog named Rocko, peacie weiss, you ain't ready for Joe...trick ass hoe.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Review of The Weather Man

The Weather Man: A-

I left this film confused and content, a bizarre combination that must mean that it was a success. Nicholas Cage delivers a stunning performance, similar to his role in Adaptation, as a pathetic loser weather man trying to find meaning in his life. I can attribute the majority of the success of this film to the screenwriting which is cleverly crafted and insightful. Cage's narration is side-splittingly funny at times, revealing his fears and shortcomings. The dialogue mixes perfectly with the obscure, offbeat plot to create a depressing yet comical slice of David Spritz's (Cage) life. We follow him as he is confronted by not-so-adoring fans, hit in the head with fast food, and see him as he struggles to gain the love of his family who sees him as a failure. I found myself ultimately relating to Spritz, despite how pathetic he was, because he was real and his failings and self-questioning nature were real. At times he made me laugh and at others he frustrated me to no end, but this is what a good character does and I appreciated that. Gore Verbinski scored big with me on this one. I would say more, but I don't want to ruin it for anyone.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Review of Jarhead

Jarhead: B

This was a higly entertaining film with superb acting. Though set in the Gulf War, this film is a commentay on the current war in the Middle East, and a poignant one. This film just shows how history repeates itself and how what we do has little impact on the world. In the style of Full Metal Jacket, this film follows one soldier, played flawlessly by Jake Gyllenhaal, through boot camp and off to war, where he struggles to keep his sanity and find meaning in his life. The film succeeds in the way that Vietnam war films succeed in that it presents a group of people who are confused and scared striving to fight off boredom while keeping their sanity. The images in this film are striking and brilliantly composed. This film, though, is really nothing new. It is very well done, but really covers no new ground. On the other hand, you will leave the theater with a head full of thoughts. It was enjoyable, and often comical, but there is no need to rush out and see it right away. I say wait for DVD to be welcomed into "the suck".

Friday, November 04, 2005

Japan Pictures

So I spent a semester abroad in Japan, as many of you know, and I figured that it would be worthwhile to post some of the best pictures I took while I was there.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Returnee Photo Contest Winner

This is the image a took in Japan that was chosen as one of the winners of the Abroad Returnee Photo Contest.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Top 100 Favorite Movies

This one is for Marisa as well as for anyone who is trying to educate themself in film. These are my top 100 favorite movies... in no particular order. Though the ones on the top I consider must sees. With no further ado:

1. Psycho
The Godfather
The Usual Suspects
4. Pulp Fiction

5. Citizen Kane
Big Lebowski
7. Raiders of the Lost Arc
8. Memento
9. North By Northwest
10. American Beauty
11. Fight Club
12. The Matrix
13. Dark City
14. Being John Malkovich
15. Seven Samurai
16. I Heart Huckabees
17. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
18. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
19. Annie Hall

20. Apacolypse Now
21. Run Lola Run
22. Sin City
23. Snatch
24. Swingers
25. City of God
26. Nightmare Before Christmas
27. The Shining
28. Dead Poet Society
29. Shawshank Redemption
30. Ground Hog Day
31. Igby Goes Down
32. Scarface
33. Clockwork Orange
34. Edward Scissor Hands
35. Casablanca
36. Blue Velvet
37. 2001: A Space Odyssey
38. Hudsucker Proxy
39. Ed Wood
40. Amelie
41. Mullholland Drive
42. Amores Perros
43. Adaptation
44. Princess Bride
45. Saving Private Ryan
46. Death to Smoochie
47. Royal Tennanbaums
48. Akira
49. Rear Window
50. Se7en
51. Labyrinth

52. Chinatown

53. Requiem For a Dream

L.A. Confidential
55. Singin' In the Rain
56. The Maltese Falcon
57. American History X
58. The Sting

59. Brazil

60. Braveheart

61. Ran

62. The Wizard of Oz

63. Back to the Future
64. The Graduate
65. Charade
66. Trainspotting
67. Twelve Monkeys
68. Sideways

69. The Ninth Gate
70. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
71. The Last Crusade
72. The Silence of the Lambs
73. The Great Escape

74. Cinema Paraidiso
75. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
76. Cool Hand Luke

77. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
78. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
79. Duck Soup
80. Y Tu Mama Tambien
81. 21 Grams

82. Mystic River

83. Spartacus

84. Grave of the Fireflies
85. Pirates of the Carribean
86. This is Spinal Tap

87. Don Juan
88. Star Wars
89. Dr. Strangelove

90. Taxi Driver

91. Alice and Wonderland

92. Amadeus

93. Vertigo

94. Tootsie
95. Easy Rider
96. Mad Max
97. Wall Street

98. Natural Born Killers

99. M

100. Goodfellas

Review of Mirror Mask

Mirror Mask: D-

Oh, Jim Henson Studios, what were you thinking!? This was one of the most incoherent, abismal, bowel-loosening, vomit-inducing pieces of garbage I have ever sat through. Granted that it was tailored towards children, but even they would watch this and immediately soil themselves with disgust. I watched this movie because the trailer made it look visually stunning, but this just goes to prove that trailers are composed of lies. The plot was non-existant and the part I was looking forward to, the visuals, were, save a few exceptions, absolutely sub par. Who would have ever imagined that Jim Henson Studios would ever resort to digital instead of puppets? I wag my finger at you Jim. You screwed up and now I have to rub your face in it. No plot plus uninspired visuals equals bad movie. This was the most horrible regurgitation of Labrynth I have ever seen. The capstone of the movie was this brilliant final piece of dialogue:
"You would make a lousy waiter anyway."
"Ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha... What?"
The End

That is exactly how I felt. What? You made me sit through this!? Shame on you Jim Henson Studios. The only reason I don't give you an F is because I feel sorry for you.

Mime Monkey

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Review of History of Violence

I figure that I can also use this site as a place to post my opinions on movies that I have seen recently, for those of you that are interested. Thus I will be posting my reviews of films and feel free to write in with your own comments.

History of Violence: A-

I have to say that I enjoyed this movie. David Cronenberg does an excellent job of portraying the reality of the situations he presents, absurd as they may be in theory. As the title suggests, this is a violent movie, though not in the Tarantino sense of the word violence. Cronenberg's version is much more empassioned and rapid and certainly not as stylized. He spends thirty minutes building up to the action and then two minutes showing it. I felt that this tactic worked very well in the framework of the film and is a welcomed deviation from Hollywood action movies. The result of this way of portraying violence is an emphasis on character development, which in my opion is the driving factor in this film. The other interesting choice that Cronenburg makes is to include two of the most brilliant sex scenes I have ever seen in a film. They are both realistic and hauntingly erotic. Though the film seems to move slowly at points, the pay off is worth the wait and well earned. The only things I didn't like about the film were the child actors, everything else was well done. This is a must see for indie film buffs, but not for the weak of heart... sorry Mom, not your kind of film.

Black and White

The World Erodes

Stick Arms

Monkey Boy vs. Evil Rooster

Hook Nose

Demon Joe

Blob Boy


Joker James

Inspired by the Joker

Pretty Teeth

Two Suave Devils