Sunday, March 29, 2009

4-in-1 Extravanganza! It slices, it dices, it previcts!

Fast & Furious
Why not 4Fast, 4Furious? I really feel that title would intrigue people much more as well as capture the feeling that the series just keeps getting more fast and more

I can't say the movie looks terrible, especially compared to its brethren, but that does not mean its good. Vin Diesel always brings a fun amount of grit to a role so I feel his re-appearance here will salvage some points for this otherwise braindead franchise . 40%-59%

The Ugly Truth
The plot for Ugly Truth has been done a million times over, that is evident in the first 15 seconds of the trailer. That is an immediate point deduction for predictability (*COUGH* Slumdog Millionaire). However, Butler and Heigl do appear to have some chemistry brewing between them which could save it from critical panning. 40%-59%

Hannah Montana the Movie

Hannah Montana is actually from Tennessee despite her name and she gets dumped back there for a lesson in good ol' country values. This movie is really hard to call as I never have any idea how critics respond to kids movies.

The Hannah Montana movie looks decent enough with passable acting from Miley Cyrus and a decent enough story. Despite my personal revulsion for most of the new Disney franchises i'm going to have to give this a 60%-79%.

Observe and Report
New Seth Rogan material, think Paul Blart but slightly less slapstick and slightly more man-child humor. It has potential but the pacing looks slightly weird with some shots that deviate from the normal comedy look, but they look funny enough. I'm going to take a chance it score it one level higher than I think it will be. 60%-79%.

Results - Batch 9

Results time! Apologies for the (basically) month long hiatus on predictions and results, things have been busy and watching trailers fell by the wayside.

1. Race to Witch Mountain - Predicted 40%-59%, ended up as an average 46%. Nothing too surprising here. The Rock does not disappoint.

2. Sunshine Cleaning - Predicted 60%-79%, average critic score of 66%.

3. The Great Buck Howard - Predicted 40%-59%, average critic score of 68%. I'm not too disappointed by this one, it was hard to call since it all depended on the quality of Malkovitch's performance which could have been hit or miss.

So there you go, only three results today. I have scores for "All About Steve" and "The Horsemen" waiting to be compared, but for some reason Tomatoes and MetaCritic don't have scores despite the release (wide in both cases too) date already passing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Results: Batch 8

Results time! Another successful batch. 3 of 4 guessed correctly.

1. Fired Up - FU didn't fail to live up to the cookie cutter expectations

2. Madea Goes to Jail - My guess was close but didn't quite make it at 40% compared to the 39% that happened. At least I know a baseline for Tyler Perry movies now.

3. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li - It was as bad as it looked and then some.

4. Watchmen - Spot on. Unwilling to interpret means unable to cop any love from the critics.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Watchmen: By the Book, Perhaps Too Much...

Ok, here's the big one, the whole enchilada, the full monty, and other such things...I'm going devote a decent amount of time here to previewing the Watchmen movie, afterall it is my namesake.

Watchmen was originally a comic series created in 1985 which depicted the lives of retired superheroes against the backdrop of a world edging closer to nuclear annihilation. Writer Alan Moore gave us not only fallible, but thoroughly human protagonists, lacking true special powers save for the nuclear-age spawn Dr. Manhattan. Moore created a story so skillfully interwoven with the sociopolitical history of America and with such compelling characters that it rightfully elevated the comic book medium to a new level of legitimacy.

And ultimately Zack Snyder's film adaptation of Watchmen will hinge on the believability of the characters and nothing else. Critics are unlikely to give the movie a 'bye' if it only succeeds in capturing the visuals and given the quality of the source material that is more than fair. There's nothing wrong when you're thrown a script and the rights to a couple of back issues of The Punisher but when you're dealing with Watchmen you better at least try and get it right.

Visually, Snyder's Watchmen is a beautiful rendering of the comic, in the trailer alone you can pick out three scenes constructed shot for shot from the comic. The heroes also look quite good in their costumes, Rorschach in particular is a highlight with great attention paid to his inkblot mask. The effect comes off perfectly and I look forward to seeing what expressions Rorschach is given for different situations. I watched the behind the scenes exclusives on YouTube which show the impressive detail that went into the set and character designs, needless to say they spent a lot of time on it.

But, as with all comic book movies, the acting is the area that merits the most attention and concern. Much of the trailer dialogue comes right out of the comic book and mostly lacks the emotion to give it weight beyond plot exposition. Again Rorschach is a bright spot in the acting , but at times it feels like without his rasping drawl he would be as flat as the next hero. Dr. Manhattan is the shakiest in the trailer, with a voice that comes off as whiny and pinched, but that's just my personal preference for a guy who can mess with physics to have a voice that matches his power...

A big part of the acting issue is also that they're reading lines straight from the comic book. I maintain that the vast majority of comic book writing is not meant to be read aloud. That is why I am a huge fan of directors following their own interpretation of source material rather than just using the novel as a visual screenplay.

Overall the movie feels like too much of a direct translation of the comic book and that will most likely dampen the creativity needed to properly bring Watchmen to the screen. It will get serious points from fanboys for being true to the look but probably lose for being so dry in the acting area. Expectations are high and the movie can certainly expect to get hit critically if it does not live up to them...this isn't a Street Fighter movie after all....60%-79%