An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Lefty’s Review’

Lefty’s Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Going into this movie, I didn’t exactly know what to expect.  The reviews for this movie have been lukewarm to bad, but that didn’t deter me.  It was a chance to go to a movie with a friend, and the experience has been enjoyable, to say the least.  Up front, I will say that I very much enjoyed this movie.  It was watching the reviews for this movie that made me realize that I wouldn’t want to be a film critic.

There is most definitely a bias on the part of film reviews.  When there are films that so clearly suck, like The Last Airbender, but they get good reviews, you can tell that much.  But for film reviewers like Siskel and Ebert (back when they were around), you can’t watch as many movies as they do without feeling like it is kind of a drag.  For real, that can’t be the most fun job after a while.

But back to the film, the story is pretty good.  It doesn’t pick up immediately where the previous film had left off, and never addresses if Holmes solved the case he said was back open in the first movie.  However, it does have an interesting opening.  It moves very quickly. (There are going to be a lot of spoilers here, so don’t read it if you don’t want to know) This is a good thing.  It begins with the reveal of our main villain, Professor James Moriarty (played by Jared Harris), the death of Irene Adler (reprised by Rachel McAdams, and thank god, because she annoyed in the first movie), and the plans for Watson’s marriage to finally happen.

While old characters die off, new ones are introduced.  Noomi Rapace, the girl from the good version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (hint, it’s the Swedish version) was introduced, playing a gypsy who is being hunted by Moriarty.

The performances in this movie were very good.  Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law are still an amazing duo.  It never ceases to amaze how Downy Jr. has this charm that can make any role he plays that much better.  And it is cool to see Rapace doing a totally different role than Lisbeth from GWtDT.  A lot of critics said that this film felt slow and like it was boring.  I disagree.

The mental game between Moriarty and Sherlock was cool, it was nice to see this film get a lot more serious than the previous film, and the action sequences were a lot more interesting.  The last action sequence with Holmes and Moriarty was kind of interesting, because it showed a back and forth battle, but it was all a battle of wits.  Holmes knew he couldn’t win physically, so he had to be smarter than his opponent.

What made this film especially good was the over-bearing darkness of it.  The shadows were used very well in this film.  It hardly ever had a bright ray of sunshine, and it quickly lost it.  When a film is able to use shadows to its benefit, that’s a good thing.  Guy Richie has a gift at using atmosphere to his benefit, and in this film, it was done very well.

All in all, while this wasn’t a great film, it was a very fun winter blockbuster.  Critics may call it slow and boring, but I call it good for its genre, and that’s all a lot of films can ever ask for.  Is it Guy Richie’s best work?  No.  But judge the film on its merits, and enjoy.

Peace out,

Lefty

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Lefty’s Review: Puss in Boots

You know, after the roller-coaster ride of very good, mildly good, or horrifically bad the Shrek movies have been, this was a surprisingly refreshing and enjoyable film.  When I first saw the previews, I thought it was going to be stupid beyond reason.  But this film was silly, but at the same time, overly serious to the point where the silliness is endearing.  Every character in this film was well-cast, and it was a rather good thing to be done for a character who was very good from Shrek 2.

On that note, this character first came to light in the film Shrek 2.  This was one of the sequels that was better than the original on every front.  The jokes were better, the characters were better, the plot was better.  Part of what made that film so good was the addition of Puss in Boots.  Played by Antonio Banderas, this was a big pun at his role in the Zorro movies.  It almost tells how you can hear that Banderas is having fun with this.  Mocking his previous roles, but doing so with adorable style and grace.

This brings us to this film.  Here, Puss is back, only this time, he is on his own.  It is unclear whether or not this is before or after his time in the Shrek films.  In this film, he is an outlaw, living on the run.  He is trying to find a big score to clear his name and rehabilitate his reputation.

He finds out about two people, Jack and Jill, who are carrying magic beans.  They want to plant them, and then take them to the giant’s castle where they will steal the golden goose, and subsequently get all the golden eggs they want.  Puss decides to steal the beans, and go after the goose himself.  Here he runs into Kitty Softpaws, played by Selma Hayek.  She interupts him during his attempted heist, and then Puss chases her back to where an old friend, Humpty Alexander Dumpty, played by Zack Galifiankis, is waiting.  Puss and Humpty go way back, and there is a lot of bad blood between them.  While Puss tried to always do right, Humpty was not so noble.  But Puss always stood with him, until one day, when Humpty robbed a bank and unwittingly made Puss his accomplice.  This forces Puss to run away from the town, and abandons Humpty when the two of them are about to be caught.  Years later, the scars hadn’t healed.

However, the three of them all decide to put their differneces aside for the single largest caper that any of them could possibly hope for.  I won’t give any more spoilers away than that.  The rest is a roller-coaster ride of humor, charm, and Puss being a total badass.

This was the film that was needed for Puss in Boots.  Almost every one of the jokes hits its mark, and it is a big laugh when it does.  The characters are fun.  It is nice to see Selma Hayek in something again, and she does Kitty Softpaws very well.  Granted, there are a lot of moments that are very corny, but given the target audience, children, it makes a lot of sense.

This was also a movie that proved the point that a film needs to be good.  Being in 3D isn’t enough.  If the film falls flat, it falls flat.  I saw this in 2D, and was able to judge it on its merits, and it has several.  It proves the point that something can be good in 3D, just like Avatar proved the point that something can be crap in 3D.

Really, this movie takes all the stories about western outlaws and gives them an adorable and fantastical feel.  Definitely worth checking out, if you have the time.

Peace out,

Lefty

Lefty’s Review: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

It is ironic how much this game failed to live up to the hype.  The Assassin’s Creed series has had a reputation of having some awesome games.  The first two were amazing, and Brotherhood was also good, though not as much.  But Revelations disappointed on pretty much every front.  What makes this ironic is that it disappointed, but only just a little.  This was a game that had so much potential, and while certain elements were fun, the bulk of it was just a slight fail.

It should be pointed out that the gameplay was fun.  The element of making and using different types of bombs is pretty interesting.  Figuring out how to use your enemy’s against one-another was pretty cool too.  The effects of Constantinople were pretty cool too.  That is really the only highlight of this game.  Really, the only truly enjoyable part of both gameplay and story was the segment “Desmond’s Journey.”  In this segment, it was like playing portal, while getting an interesting back-story to Desmond Miles.  It was always a point of interest that I had, what Desmond’s childhood had been like, and why he left The Farm.  But this answered that all very well, and the narrative was surprisingly pleasant to listen to.

Those are the highlights.  The failures are, well, everywhere.  The biggest has got to be the segments with Altair.  Not only do all of them take place in Masyaf, not giving any depth at all, but they were very short, and seemed to add very little to the story.  It was like they just wanted to have Altair in there again.  They had a lot of chances to go to different places, see different people, expand his world a little more.  Instead, nothing, absolutely nothing.  This was the first major fail.

The second was that there was no real glory to this plot.  Unlike Brotherhood, where there was a mission, and you were working toward an understood end, this game simply choose to have events take place.  It was kind of dull.  That was perhaps this game’s biggest failing.  It was just boring.  All the actions were really leading nowhere.  Plus, you never got attached to any of the characters enough to care what happened to them.  The relations between the characters was as dull as the characters themselves.  Even Ezio was kind of boring.  They also killed Lucy off, which was worse.

But perhaps the biggest failing of this game (spoiler alert!) was the ending.  Rather than have Desmond come back to consciousness and then have some time for him to tell his tale, to say what happened, he just suddenly wakes up, and it just ends.  Everybody had to be very interested in what his story was, why he was in a coma, what had happened, why he killed Lucy.  Instead, he just wakes up and that’s it.  Subject 16 disappears, and really, nothing was added to the story arc.

This was a game that didn’t epically fail, but the fail was pretty apparent.  It had a lot of potential, and instead of really delivering, it just plain failed.  Let’s hope that AC III is a success.

Peace out,

Lefty

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