Now You See Me – A Review

Magic.  That’s not exactly what this movie is all about, but yet, it is.  It’s all about misdirection.  It’s a mystery; a real whodunit.

I realize that Now You See Me has been out for a couple of week, but it’s one that I’ve been meaning to watch.  I went to visit my friends up at my local movie box and plopped down to be entertained.

Another part of why it took me so long to get in to see it was the basic question that I had about it.  Was it “real magic” (like what you would see in a Harry Potter movie) or was it “sleight of hand / illusion magic” (like what you would see at a Las Vegas show).

I’ll go ahead and spoil that for you now; it’s sleight of hand and illusion.  Oh hey, don’t get me wrong, I love watching magic shows just like the next guy.  I’m the kind of person who likes to figure out how they do those tricks.  But yeah, that’s why I hesitated to see Now You See Me.  I just didn’t know what kind of movie to expect.  Sounds strange I know.

Overall I did have fun watching it.  It was clever, witty, fun, and didn’t leave me walking out feeling like I just wasted my time.  I am convinced that I should have seen this one when it first came out.

The only element that I could complain about was the use of CGI in the magic tricks.  I understand why they did; but it would have given the movie a much more real feel (not to mention it would have made the magic that much more impactful) if the special effects were shot practically.  I’m going to spoil one scene where this is a prime example; they flip a large purple sheet and it swirls all around the stage as if it is whipping in the wind, then it drops and a large stage prop appears under where the sheet was swirling.  The sheet was entirely CGI.  They really could have executed that better by using a real sheet with real movements.  Stuff like that; the CGI wasn’t over-used by any means, but when it was, I just felt they could have shot it practically to pull off a more convincing spot of magic.

The prevailing theme is; The closer you look, the less you see.  And that certainly rings true.  As I mentioned above, this is a whodunit film.  It’s a great mystery movie on its own merit.  They harder you try to figure it out, the harder it will be for you to see what’s actually going on.

Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Michael Kelly top off this all star cast; and it delivers fun, mystery, and more fun.  Go see it this weekend on the big screen.  You’ll be glad you did.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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World War Z – A Review

Hi.  My name is Brian and I like zombies.

I also run some of the biggest zombie websites in the world.  Well, okay, maybe not the biggest, but they do have their place on the web.  You may have heard of a couple of them; www.ZombieMall.com and www.ZombieUniversity.net ?  No?  Well.. crap.  That’s okay, I’m still trying to work on infecting the world with their presence.  I digress..

When a movie about zombies hits the theaters, it is simply my obligation to go watch.

World War Z is based on the Max Brooks book of the same name.  Yeah, I’ve read that too.  When I first heard that the book was being turned into a movie, my first thought was “huh?  how??!”

Those that have read the book know that it is more of an interview, a diary or journal if you will, of people who have survived the zombie apocalypse and are getting their story set down (for the record).

The movie was going to star Brad Pitt.  The book didn’t really have a main character, and Pitt is such a big name.  He reportedly paid $1million to Brooks for the rights to make it into a movie.  Pitt was also a producer of the movie, and of course is the main star as well.  So yeah, he’s kindav a big deal.   Surely he is not going to limit himself to just one segment?

Ahhh.. I was starting to be one of the “Oh Ye of Little Faith”.

The movie changes things up a fair amount from the book.  And that’s where a lot of reviews are going to get all negative.  I’m not.  I’m not even going to throw a fit like others have about Damon Lindelof being brought in to “fix” the ending.  I still can’t believe that people continue to give him grief over Prometheus (I for one loved it, but I digress).  He had a hand in the script for Star Trek Into Darkness as well. Though I will certainly admit that there is a very coherent change of pace about 2/3rds of the way into the film.  It is action, action, slow-down.   Which is not necessarily a bad thing.  It allows for the story to catch up with itself.  Let’s also not forget that Drew Goddard also helped with this movie’s script.

While World War Z moves a good ways away from the book, there are several Easter Eggs from the book for you to find, but blink and you will certainly miss some of them.

The zombies are actually referred to as.. well.. “zombies”.  I think that awesome!  So many zombie flicks shy away from that word, but this one embraces it.  Though I will admit that it did not appear that too many people had much zombie training.  Many people get munched, mountains of undead are made and they run fast.  Wait, let me rephrase.. they are Speed Demons!

Their origin …….  Oh, no, I’m not going to spoil that for you (that’s the McGuffin of the film).

The reviews on this movie are VERY mixed.  I’m among the ones that liked it.  It was fun, and if anything it certainly satisfied my itch for zombies until The Walking Dead returns this October.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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BIG D&D News: NeverWinter MMORPG and more!

Do you like to play WoW?  That’s World of Warcraft (just in case you’re a gamer that’s been trapped in a dragon’s lair for the past several years).

Did you enjoy the hell out of NeverWinter Nights or it’s sequel?  I for one spent countless hours in their tool creations making up all kinds of quests.

Well.. Today Wizards of the Coast has released NeverWinter the MMORPG.  The graphics are AMAZING and the game play is phenomenal!  The best part… it’s totally FREE to play!  Yep, FR to the quadruple EEEE!  FREEEEEEEEEEE!

You can register for an account here:  NeverWinter MMORPG .  There is a video you can watch (it’s not very cinematic, but it does show off the graphics).

In other D&D News…

Wizards of the Coast also released earlier this week, for the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PC a download for Dungeons and Dragons called Chronicles of Mystara.  It’s from Capcom and allows up to four players to battle against various denizens from the Dungeons and Dragons universe.

The Press release is listed here:

Wizards of the Coast is celebrating two new digital releases this week: Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara, which released on June 18th, and today’s launch of the critically-acclaimed Neverwinter MMORPG.  These releases are just two of several exciting Dungeons & Dragons digital games scheduled for release in 2013.

Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara from Capcom features up to four players battling against mythical beasts from the D&D universe with a mix of melee, range and magic attacks. The game is available as a digital download on PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U and PC.

Neverwinter is an action RPG set in an immersive massively multiplayer world that lets players explore and defend one of the most beloved cities in the Forgotten Realms. The MMORPG is free-to-play and can be downloaded at http://nw.perfectworld.com/.

The release of Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara and Neverwinter join many other partnerships and digital releases in the works, establishing D&D as a major force in the digital space. Other upcoming releases include Arena of War, a mobile game for Android, iPhone and iPad devices from DeNA available later this year; Shadowfell Conspiracy, the second expansion pack to the Dungeons & Dragons Online MMORPG releasing on August 19; the upcoming release of Baldur’s Gate on Android followed by Baldur’s Gate II Enhanced Edition; and a yet-to-be-announced game from Playdek.

Be on the lookout for additional announcements highlighting D&D’s expressions across the digital space!

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Sup.. er.. Man Of Steel – My Private Thoughts

Does Man of Steel really need a review?  Nah, so I’m not going to bore you with how good it is; just go see it.

Instead, I want to blather on for a moment about Hope, I want to share with you a couple of my private thoughts (if you care).

I would think that most boys hope to grow up to be strong men, I know I had those hopes.

I would think that most men hope to be strong leaders, I know I continue to strive for that quality.

I would also like to think that most men hope to be a hero to at least one person.

For me, when growing up, Superman was always my favorite comic-book hero.  As I went from kid to adult, as childish as it may sound, I always wanted to be Superman.  I’ve owned the familiar blue shirt with the ‘S’ logo on it in since I was small.  While the shirt never altered my physical form, when I put it on it did change (if ever so slight) how I view things.  I wanted to be the bigger person, I wanted to be the one that could save the day.

As a father, I always had hope that my son would see me as his Superman.

But that hope has been misplaced and I only realize that now for the first time.  Instead of my desire for my son to see me as his Superman, I hold hope that he will become his own Superman.  It is my job to provide to him that hope, to encourage him, to lift him up so he can indeed be a super man.

 

That is the meat of what I took from watching Man of Steel.  It’s about fathers doing what they can to provide for their children.  It’s about the sacrifice a father MUST make in order to provide strength to their children.  It’s about providing hope.

The movie touched me on a very personal level.  Sure you might could see me as a weak person for getting all gushy about a silly movie, but sometimes we all need reminders of who we are and what we are here to do.  Sometimes it takes something like a silly movie to remind us.

I could nit-pick a few elements of this movie; but I won’t.  I had a fun time watching it.  I had a great time absorbing the personal message that I got out of it.

This Father’s Day weekend, let your kids know that they are your super hero.  Hug them, love them, and provide to them hope.

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This Is The End – a review

First off… This is an ADULT film with ADULT humor (and most of it is vulgar).  It’s not one for the kids regardless of how many times they say that Hiccup is in it. It’s not one for those easily offended.  This Is The End features an all-star comedy cast; James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, among others.  The unique angle is that they all play themselves.

Those who follow me know that I’ve had a rough month so far.  AC in the house died; hot water heater blew up, car died, cable went out, all kinds of bad things have been going on.  You could say I’ve been having a bad day.  I really needed to hit my local movie theater, Carmike Oaks 7 in Batesville, Arkansas, and watch a good comedy to lighten my mood.  This Is The End most certainly delivered.  The short of it; I loved it, go see it.  The long of it; read on…

As the tale unfolds we learn that Jay and Seth have been long time friends since childhood and grew up in Canada.  Seth moved to the States and made it big in Hollywood and made lots of Hollywood friends.  He and Jay tried to keep in touch over the years, but each got busy with their own careers.  This is actually not far from the truth as Seth explained to SiriusXM Radio Host Howard Stern this past Monday.

Jay arrives in Hollywood, hangs out with Seth, and head over to James Franco’s house to really party.  The Party features even more actors and comedians playing themselves (yes, yes, we all understand that they are all playing a character of themselves, over-the-top if you will).  Emma Watson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Michael Cera, and several others all seem to be in the good graces of James Franco.

 

Then all Hell breaks loose, literally.  I don’t want to spill any spoilers about what is to come, but suffice it to say this is perhaps one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in the past few years.

As I mentioned this movie is full of adult content.  Sexual jokes, brief nudity, lots of drug use and reference, it’s just not something I would take a kid to go see.   That aside, I loved it.  I think most readers of this site would find it right up their alley as well.

This week we also have Man of Steel due out.  You may be hesitant to spend your hard earned cash on two movies.  I would say… Indulge yourself.  On this day give yourself a little present and go catch a double feature.  This Is The End is by far super funny and is very much well worth it.  I would almost venture to say that if it had come out on any other given weekend, it very well could have been the top selling movie.

I might just go see it again, it was that entertaining.  I would recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of fun.

I give it 4 out of 5.

Who knew the Apocalypse could be so funny?

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