Monday, December 31, 2007

Catchaflick Best of '07 Awards ~Caleb's Picks

Before I start I just wanted to say a couple of things, first 2007 was a awesome year, so many great films. The second thing I wanted to address is that this list and my picks are subjective. How do you really judge art?

Best Special Effects: Transformers

Best Art Direction: Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At Worlds End

Best Cinematography: Zodiac

Best Screenplay: Waitress

Best Supporting Actress: Marcia Gay Harden - The Mist

Best Actress: Zoe Bell - Grindhouse

Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men

Best Actor: Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises

Best Director: Ethan & Joel Coen - No Country for Old Men

Best Picture: No Country for Old Men

OK, sorry I added the "Oscar" pic. I know that this is not the Oscars.
However, I do have to say, "Where's Sweeney man?"
I will work on my list, but I know that it WILL include that one.
I will get back here soon to post my picks for 2007.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Original Predator (Schwarzenegger 1987)

So, last night, in spirit of the new AvP-R, we re-watched the original Predator. I remember liking this movie quite a bit as a kid, as it was released in 1987 (I would have been 9, and I think COX would have been 10). It is interesting to watch something again and see some different things than what you had before. Now, don't get me or COX wrong on this, the last time we saw this was NOT back in 1987. However, It has been a few years though.

The character development was great. They did a fantastic job setting up the characters. Every one of them has their own distinctive aspects about them. You get to know them, then you feel for them as they are slaughtered one at a time by the mysterious creature known as the "Predator".

This is another great thing that is done in this film. The mysteriousness of "what is out there?" is awesome. I think that this suspense is what makes this such a great film. I think of the movie Jaws when I think of this. I love when you don't know who the killer is or what it looks like. When this is revealed this too early on, it becomes not as interesting. I wish that more movies today were made in this same vein.

I noticed a lot of symmetry going on in this movie that I had not previously noticed, which I will point out here:
1. Mac (one of the soldiers) gets frustrated after his buddy, Blain, is killed by the Predator. He begins firing in anger & frustration at the woods where he believes the Predator is located. He fails to hit anything. Later on in the film, Dutch (Schwarzenegger) succesfully hits the Predator with an explosive arrow. This frustrates the beast and he begins to randomly fire at Dutch in frustration.

2. The Predator uses a elaborate & highly-developed camoflauge that makes him virtually invisible. After coming out of the water, this camo is damaged & fails him, and he can now be seen by Dutch. Also, Dutch uses mud on his body to camoflauge himself from the Predator (since he can only see changes in heat). The mud keeps his body looking cool to the Predator. Well, later Dutch falls into the water, which washes the mud off of his skin. This now allows the Predator to see the heat from his body.

3. Near the end, Dutch is setting up his camp with traps for the Predator. He now somewhat has the upper hand, or seems to be hunting the Predator, as earlier in the film, Dutch & his men were completely the prey.

4. In the fight scene with Dutch & the Predator, Dutch is without any weapons, so the Predator strips itself off all of its sophisticated weaponry to allow it to be a "fair fight".

If you have not seen Predator. This is an absolute classic film. It is a great Man vs. Beast movie. It is a great action movie. I can't say the same for Predator II, as I really enjoyed this one.

Rating: A. --SammyB

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

AVP: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

AVP: Requiem may not hold a candle to Alien, Aliens, and Predator, but it was still a very entertaining and fun creature feature. I am not one of these fanboys that hates the AVP movies because it creates its own rules. One example of this is fans complain that the Aliens burst out of their host to fast. Too fast? Who cares. Do you realize how long these movies would be if they were the pacing of an Aliens movie? Boring, that's how long they would be. AVP is its own separate movie universe with obvious sprinkles from both franchises. The way I see to approach these movies is as if they were a comic book. Let's get to the action quick. I paid to see some Aliens and Predators duke it out for 90min.

AVP: Requiem is a improvement on the first movie; however it does has it faults. One problem I have is that when you set a movie like AVP on Earth, you are setting up for disaster. Aliens are like cockroaches, just when you think you've got rid of them all, it seems one is always lurking somewhere. Luckily setting AVP on earth was o.k, I'm just saying neighbor beware, you might have a Alien in your back yard. The second issue I have is not that big of a deal, so never mind.

AVP: Requiem wasn't quite what I was hoping for but enjoyed it for what it was worth. A good strong creature feature worth a B-.

Enjoy! ~COX

AVP-Requiem! I was very ready for this one. I had been waiting for a better version of these 2 awesome evils. I am on board with COX for the most part on this film. I think that I was hoping for at least SOME character development, but there was none. So, the Strause Bros could have just left most of the human involvement out. There was a lot of unneccesary stuff. and I think that this is the second issue of Caleb's is all about. I could be wrong. Correct me Caleb, if I am.

The character development is a HUGE part of the original Alien. The film is more about Ripley & her crew and their stuggle not just with the aliens, but with each other. You feel like you are there with her & them. and I will say that this is my favorite one out of the Alien & Predator movies combined.

If you are wondering, here is how I would rank them:
1. Alien
2. Aliens
3. Predator
4. AVP-Requiem
5. is there any reason to list the others?

This new AVP-R movie is mainly about special effects & very cool, well-done fight scenes. Why, you ask? Because the Strause Bros are "Visual & Special Effects" guys. This movie is their first BIG Direction, and you can tell from the cast & their acting that this is not the strong part of the movie. and it really doesnt need to be. I like the fact that the actors are virtually unrecognizable. It makes it fresh. Also, the fact that the acting is a bit under-par just kind of points to almost a B-movie type of feel but with GREAT effects. The cinematography is fantastic. There are some scenes in here that really blow you away with some new cutting edge stuff. You tend to forget that the acting is great because you are watching some the best choreographed & designed fights.

One thing that the Strause Bros are not afraid to do is to "hold back". They are a no-holds barred type of Directors. They don't care about body count or killing off a certain character because it may hurt your feelings. SO, don't worry about them doing this. I like this aspect of the movie. It makes it more real. Too often Hollywood tends to sugarcoat certain things, and the Strause Bros get my vote on this movie for not abiding by any certain rules here. This also rolls into what COX is saying about other fans/critics judging this movie against the other original movies. This one makes its own rules, but also invents some new ideas of its' own. I won't go into detail, as it may spoil. Just be prepared for anything.

If you are a fan of the Alien & Predator movies, want a wild kick of a movie with new Predator weapons & abilities (which by the way are TOO awesome!), and can't wait for how these 2 creatures are going to fight each other, then this is the movie for you. Oh, and one way I judge is, will I see it again? the answer is Yes.

I rate this one a B. (as the originals get A's).
but the others fall off of the chart.
I hope you like it.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sweeney Todd Review

SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET is my favorite Tim Burton film since over a decade. After the PLANET OF THE APES remake I was really starting to lose faith in the man that brought Batman to the big screen.

Mr. Burton is back in masterwork form with SWEENEY TODD I am glad to say. I don't know about Sam, but this film took me into cinematic overload. This film is a major work of fantasy, revenge, horror, and musical art. Growing up in the '80's I never was a big fan of musicals. STAR WARS was my cup of tea, I never had any interest in that "The hills are alive...blah,blah,blah". After seeing a Broadway show in NYC, my narrow mind opened up a bit. My mind must have opened quite a bit because SWEENEY TODD was so much a musical that it had that singing while talking, and I loved every minute. Sorry I cant compare the movie with the source material from which it came. I can tell you that I would be safe to say that Burton's film does the stage musical justice, and that the film is a masterwork on its own merits.

Now to address what is even more amazing about this film. Burton has made a classic British horror movie in the vein of the old Hammer Horror movies. Another thing Tim Burton did along with Depp was that they created a character that can easily join the rouges gallery of the famous Universal monsters.

Sweeney Todd a.k.a Benjamin Barker returns to London after being sent away by Judge Turpin. He opens a barber shop above Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pie Shop were she sells "the worst pies in London." With the help of Mrs. Lovett, Todd tries to rid of all the people who have ever done him wrong and hopes to be reunited with his daughter, Joanna, who is now Judge Turpin's ward.

A couple last thoughts, One, please don't let a little throat cutting and blood gore be an issue, this story is much, much more than that. The second thing is that SWEENEY TODD as of right now is my favorite film of 2007. Enjoy! ~COX

I must say that I was not sure of what I was in for when I signed on for this one. I knew from the trailers that I was excited to see it. With Burton directing & Depp starring, how could you go wrong? What I did not realize was HOW much I was going to enjoy this film. It takes film-making to a new level for me. This movie could have been made 20-30 years ago; and what I mean by that is that they do not use new methods of film-making (ie: special effects, crazy camera angles, fancy this and that, etc). It is just plain great acting, excellent singing, and wonderful writing. Why can more movies not be made like this today? Hollywood seems to over-complicate things. The simple thoughts in films are the greatest. I think of simple stories like the original Jaws & Stand By Me. If they won't do it, then maybe COX and I should.

I, like Caleb, really enjoyed & appreciated this movie. We also agree that this is probably Burton & Depp's greatest work of art thus far. Burton's classic use of blacks, whites, and subdued colors is used again here, but it also seems reinvented in a way. He uses the lighting and colors to tell the story to us, they change subtly depending on the mood. Concerning Johnny Depp, some may say how does his character of Captain Jack Sparrow get any better? Well, it simply just does. He leaves himself behind in any prior work. Did you think he could sing? The last thing I remember is "Cry Baby". If you are judging this performance based on your familiarity with that. Don't even try. This is Depp as we have never seen him before. Be prepared to be wowed.

I am not a huge fan of musicals either. When I think of a musical, I think of "The Sound of Music" or "West Side Story". This "musical" (if you want to call it that) is a different type. I was blown away by the talent of all of the actors in this, from Helena Bonham Carter to Alan Rickman to lil Ed Sanders (playing the boy, Toby). I was pleasantly overwhelmed by the songs in this film. The way that the songs overlap each other and the focus that the actors must keep truly left me awestruck. This is one reason that I very much want to see this film again. It is already a large challenge to put together an excellent film, but to have to add & direct a musical along with the movie is an enormous feat to overcome. Big props to Tim Burton & his crew on this one.

Sweeney Todd truly sits in a world of its own. I almost think that it needs its own name of genre. The songs are witty and clever. The music and lyrics bring it full circle from the beginning song to the end. In other words, this film is very well balanced from the music as well as to its story. Caleb says "This may be a perfect film", and I say "Standing ovation inside for Sweeney Todd".

I think that this movie will get all types of viewers coming its way. First, you will have the die-hard Johnny Depp fans that will bring it huge box office $$. Then you will have the Tim Burton junkies, especially the ones hooked on "The Nightmare before X-mas". This animated movie came out in 1993 and has had a very large following. The age of the viewers on this are now 14 years older and primed for this sweet flick. Furthermore, and this is a bit of a stretch, you will have some Harry Potter fans trickling in as well due to the dark mysterious tone coupled with a few familiar actors (Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, & Timothy Spall) in the same film.

I, too, have not seen the play version, so I do not have that knowledge to compare this one too. The only history I have of this is a brief version of it from the movie "Jersey Girl". However, I do think that it is OK that you haven't because it seems to do such a fabulous job making you feel as though you are viewing a live theatrical play. The sets are re-used over and over which gives it that feel of a play. The camera angles are changed so that it doesnt get redundant, but then for impact the same angles are used in certain scenes. I will say that this film drives me to a desire to view this as a live theatrical. Maybe someday COX and I will have the honor to see it.

I didn't feel conned into watching this movie, as I have felt with other BIG HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTERS. These movies make me feel like I was taken advantage of. Like, "We have your money, you got your big action scenes, and now we are done here". These are the same movies that leave me empty, not speaking of them again, not having a need to discuss them with anyone, and really not having to view them again either. This pains me. I love the fact that I was challenged by Sweeney Todd. It was something very different than what I was used to. It surprised me in a extraordinary way.

I agree with Caleb in the following ways:
1. that this is my Movie of the Year for 2007.
2. This is a true cinematic experience.
3. if one can put the blood parts past them, then they will truly enjoy this film.

I challenge the ones that can & will not see it due to the blood alone. You will be pleasantly satisfied.

So, do I think that you should see this? Do I really need to ask?
Rating: A+ (On Sam's Top 10 of all time)

.........and what are Sam's Top 10 of all time? I will get back with you on that. and I am sure that COX will share his along with mine.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I believe is the best fantasy movie of '07. Have you seen the other Fantasy movies this year? "Stardust" is about a young man who tries to win the heart of Victoria, the girl of his dreams, by going on a quest to retrieve a fallen star. His journey takes him to a mysterious land beyond the walls of his village. On his quest, He finds the star, which has transformed into a striking girl named Yvaine played by the lovely Claire Danes.
However, Tristan is not the only one seeking the star. Lord Stormhold's three living sons not to mention the ghosts of their four dead brothers all need the star as they fight for the crown. Tristan must also overcome the evil witch, Lamia, who needs the star to make her young again.
The movie is entertaing and extremely creative. The only problem I have with the film is that its too overstuffed. Too much is going on during this adventure. I love the mythos of the world in "Stardust". I like this movie enough to highly recommend it but not enough to call it a classic. "Stardust" gets a C.

Stardust? hmmm....what to say about this one? I will say that I do like fantasy films. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc. However, I was not sold on this one. It does have a good start, and some neat ideas, but it fails to engage me in it. I gave it a chance, but it failed me. I felt like it built me up for something bigger than what it could become. The all powerful evil witches were too easily defeated. There needed to be more of a struggle for me.

I don't have much to say about this one. It is better than some I have seen, but on the flip side, I have seen some great fantasy films that blow me away, and this one was far from it. Why can't they make something like Krull again?
Rating: C-

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

We watched "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang", which stars Val Kilmer, Robert Downey Jr., & Michelle Monaghan. Directed by Shane Black, which was his first and only direction thus far. However, you may know the following films that he either wrote or co-wrote: Lethal Weapon 1-4, The Monster Squad, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight, & also Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Caleb had seen this movie before; I had not. From the very beginning I was hooked. Robert Downey Jr. also does the narration for this film. Not only is he good at narrating, but the narration is done in a new, refreshing comedic style.

This movie is a murder mystery, but it goes another step further by adding comedy. It's amazingly funny, but not cheesy. Sometimes if comedy is added to a certain movie, it can become contradicting or wrong. This movie brilliantly brings out something that is hard to put into words (and could take all day...I'm not that motivated). All I can say is that Kilmer & Downey Jr. are fantastic together. They play off of each other so well; like an old Hollywood Duo from the past.

I recommend this one. I will say that it does have some language, so if that offends you, then..........well you can make that decision. I think I am going to buy this one, because I can & will watch it again.

A few favorite lines:
B-Movie Actress: So, what do you do for a living?
Harry: Uh, I'm retired. I invented dice when I was a kid. How about you?

Perry: [on the phone] What do you mean they gave her back?

Harry: I peed on the corpse. Can they do, like, an ID from that?
Perry: I'm sorry, you peed on...?
Harry: On the corpse. My question is...
Perry: No, my question. I get to go first. Why would you pee on corpse?

Perry: Go. Sleep badly. Any questions, hesitate to call.
Harry: Bad.
Perry: Excuse me?
Harry: Sleep bad. Otherwise it makes it seem like the machanism that allows you to sleep...
Perry: What? Badly's an adverb. Who taught you grammar? Get out. Vanish.

Rating: B+

This concludes this broadcast............
.............until the next time.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

New Dark Knight Trailer

COX and I finally had the privilege to see the new "Dark Knight" trailer at the beginning of "I Am Legend".
I must say that it looks above and beyond any Batman movie that I have ever seen. It will be the most anticipated movie for me of next year. I think I also speak for Caleb when I say this. I must say that I was worried when I heard that they cast Heath Ledger for the part of the Joker, but after seeing this new trailer, I was VERY impressed!

Here is the highly anticipated new trailer:

I Am Legend

Midnight this morning I had the awesome pleasure to see the new Will Smith vehicle "I Am Legend". In the movie Smith plays a military doctor science guy, who is trying to develop a cure to a virus that has killed most of the worlds population. He is the last man alive in NYC and most likely the world. By day he bides his time doing things around town with his best canine friend Sam. At night he locks himself inside his nice house on Washington Sq. to keep out the nasty vampire/infected people. The movie was well made and acted, only it ran a little long and I could of used a little more Fresh Prince vs. the Vampires. Until we come up with our own rating system I give "I Am Legend" a C+. If you the reader ended up seeing "I Am Legend" and liked it may I recommend "28 Weeks Later". Enjoy! ~COX


COX and I saw this one together at midnight (sneak preview), & I have to admit I was pretty pumped up to watch this one. I have been a Will Smith fan for a while, since the Fresh Prince days. But now he has become someone different. He has definitely developed as an actor, and can now pull off these movies without me thinking of him and Carlton goofing off. I was pleasantly surprised about his performance in this one. I felt like I was right along with him in his quest with his best friend. He, and the director, really bring you in to his lonely world.

I don't need to go into details on this, as COX has informed you of the basics, and I don't want to ruin anything by going into too great of detail. I will say I was satisfied with this movie. I wouldn't go as far to say that this is my movie of the year, because it wasn't. Was I entertained? For sure. I felt that there was enough of everything in this movie. Drama, Sadness, Love, Family, Passion for ones' work, Fear, Survival, Horror, and even Comedy. It was very well balanced and ends in a way that I thought was appropriate.

As far as the CGI, I thought that the animation was great. I think that we maybe have been spoiled by the recent great works of "Beowulf". It is hard to live up to that detail. However, for what "I Am Legend" did, I thought it looked great. While watching the movie, I never thought "this looks fake", nor did it distract me from the movie. I never skipped a beat watching it. I was definitely focused in.

I wouldn't recommend this one to everyone. If you like Will Smith, don't mind a few jumps, and are ready for a little ride, then this is a movie for you. If you are looking for an all-out horrorfest, then you will be dissappointed. I do feel that this one is too scary for the little kids (?-13), but ages on up from this will enjoy this one. My rating on this one would be a B. --Sam

See the trailer here: