Friday, January 20, 2012

TrollHunter (2010)

          The Troll Hunter (translated in Norwegian; Trolljegeren) is a Norwegian dark fantasy film, made in the form of a mockumentary (kinda like Cloverfield slash The Blair Witch Project…but funny). It was written and directed by Andre Ovredal. The story is about a group of Norwegian film students that set out to film a story on recent bear attacks….but eventually find that it is a government conspiracy to hide the existence of Trolls.

          The film beautifully does two different things…other than entertain you, it makes you laugh a little at the sheer ridiculousness and scares you all at the same time. The director portrayed the trolls in classic Scandinavian traditional fashion; rich in troll and paranoia lore, that it sometimes risk of boring you. Unless of course you have Norwegian comedian Otto Jespersen playing the role of Hans the trollhunter, who at times explains the lore in a deadpan serious comedic fashion that you almost believe him.

          The trolls, I loved the most. They were the most horrific, silly looking things you will ever see. They kept the trolls look “old school-ish”. If you’ve ever seen the old story books and paintings on trolls, you’ll know what I mean. The visual effects were spot on, with the jerky camera work that added to the “authenticity” of the film.

          In order to have a good time you must surrender yourself to the film. Making fun of conspiracy theory and “Blair Witch Project-ness” films was never so much fun.

I give it 4 pugs and a popcorn. 4.5

Super 8 (2011)

            JJ Adams brings it back “old school”, with a nostalgic (Speilberg-esqe) science fiction film set in the summer of 1979. In the film, a group of friends witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon notice it was no accident. Shortly after, unusual and inexplicable events begin to take place. The local deputy tries to uncover the truth and gets no help from the military who has also mysteriously appeared after the crash. Eventually, everyone will know that there is something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.

            Some critics called it nostalgic while others called it a cliché…I called it a copy of the Spielberg kind…Or maybe all of the above. I really wanted to like this film and I did…a little….but it didn’t give me the sense of nostalgia that others have mentioned before. Sometimes it felt like a cliché, it tried a little too hard in trying to be that 80’s films that we use to like as kids. When seeing this film I wondered if I was asking for too much. Whatever the case maybe, I was hoping for something fresher and more exciting. Towards the end of the film I felt my eyes roll in the back of my head…really? This just seemed to me like a mash up Close Encounters +E.T. + Goonies plus any other alien late 70’s early 80’s movie you can think of.

            Now, the film did have its moments…I laughed at a couple of jokes and cringed in terror at a certain character getting “abducted” by the alien. I think I uttered the words….. “OH SHIT!” This also scared Rocco (the pug) a little. The cinematography was great; there were a couple of great action scenes especially the train accident and the “tank” battle that was on the edge of your seat. Then there was the actual alien….which honestly I think had about 5 whole minutes in the film (it sure felt that way). When the alien did “supposedly” come out you either got some blurred view of the creature &/or maybe a tentacle or two….that’s it. It wasn’t until the end of the film did you finally got to see it entirely. Which I guess was the point…But come on….at least in Aliens or E.T. you saw the freakin’ alien. But to be fair….this gave a lot of time to develop a story for the young actors relationship with their parents and themselves.

            The child actors were (of course) the stars of this film. The romance between Joel Courtney (who plays the main character Joe Lamb) and Elle Fanning (who plays the love interest Alice) was a sweet performance between the two. The bossy chubby kid was not the usual goonies cliché we see most of the time with films which I liked.

            So I zigged zagged a little on my opinion of the film. On one hand I was entertained and on the other I was disappointed. Maybe I wasn’t in my right frame of mind that day….I don’t know. I really wished I felt that “nostalgia” that everyone else felt when they saw this film.

I give it 3 pugs out of five….I liked it but not enough to see it again.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

We're Baaaaaack!

As you can see, both Babaloo and I have added a couple of reviews to the old blog.  We are both going to try and be a little more involved with the site, watching films together and catering to our own tastes time and again.  We hope you enjoy, and if you have a great idea for a movie, email us at or leave a comment below.  Thanks!

Match Point (2005)

I like Woody Allen films, in spite of knowing that due to his personal life, we're not SUPPOSED to like Woody Allen films anymore.  I enjoy the nostalgia of seeing New York City in the 70s and 80s in some of his classic films, and I like that you know you're pretty much getting the same film each time you watch one.  A group of usually well to do people gathering and talking about life, love and the complexity of relationships.  In recent years, Allen decided to do a series of films that leave New York City and are based in London.  The first of these three films is Match Point.

Chris (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is a former tennis pro with no direction in his life until he meets Tom (Matthew Goode).  The two become fast friends, and Tom's sister Chloe (Emily Mortimer) becomes smitten with him, but not before Chris meets Tom's fiancee', Nola (Scarlett Johansson).  Flirting ensues, people break up, people get married, people try to get pregnant, people DO get pregnant, then there's a twist in the last 25 percent of the movie that I did NOT see coming, and I'm glad I didn't know about it.  I don't want to spoil it for those of you who want to see the film, but there are scenes that are riveting to watch.

It's important to note that those scenes do NOT involve Scarlett Johansson.  I've seen her in multiple films in the past, and no matter what she's playing, she always seems to have this very bored look about her.  There were scenes where you could SEE she was trying to play the role of the tragic, down on her luck, clearly becoming an alcoholic actress, but it was clear that she was, in fact, ACTING!  Meyers, oddly attractive, smoldered at times and, at others showed sensitivity and anxiety that was palpable. (One only need to watch the scene in Nola's neighbor's apartment to know what I'm talking about (still not giving anything away).)

London doesn't get the usual starring role that Allen saves for the Big Apple, and that was kind of a shame.  While I am looking forward to discussing the other films of his London trilogy, I'm sad to say that the next film, Scoop, stars the always fun to look at Hugh Jackman and....sigh...Scarlett Johansson.

Match Point Gets 3 pugs

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2011

           The Science-Fiction film is a reboot to the original Planet of the Apes series, directed by Rupert Wyatt. The Film has some similarities to the original 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, which again is not a remake but more of a reboot (as I just mentioned).  I consider this reboot more of a love letter to the entire series. Much like Star Trek’s reboot movie in 2009.

               James Franco is Will Rodman the biochemist that has been developing a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and is testing it on Chimpanzees in a high tech facility. After all hell breaks loose in the lab, Will is forced to adopt a young baby chimp named Caesar, who is played by Andy Serkis (who played Golem in Lord of the Rings). Will’s main drive is to find a cure for his father Charles (played by John Lithgow) who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.  As Caesar gets older, he struggles to find his identity and where he fits in the world. Will also struggles to keep his little family together and becomes obsessed to find a cure for his father which in turn back fires.

               John Lithgow is amazing in this film; he had the meatiest role. His character goes from senile old man to brilliant then back to senile as the cure wears off; spiraling down as the disease comes back with a vengeance. I don’t think anyone could have played it better. The real star are the apes...I am not sure if they used any or all of Andy Serkis facial expressions but ”oh my god” it could not look any more human or real. From the special effects team who worked on Avatar and Lord of the Rings they really went up a notch to portray a real feel to the apes.  

               The only compliant I had on the film was the ending. Towards the action packed ending,  it seemed to get all your emotions way up high but then left you hanging…..I think that was the point. Leave it open for sequels. That’s all good….just was hoping for a little more at the end.

               Other than the ending, the film did cause to stir up a lot of emotions in me (which is a big plus) from happy, sad, anger and fear. It is rare when a movie can take you on that kind of rollercoaster ride and leave you wanting more. I remember watching the old movies as a kid with my father and loving it. This film brought me back to that old sense of wonder and adventure. Rent It!!!

4 pugs and a popcorn (4 1/2) out of 5 pugs.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kung Fu Panda 2

It is the story of Po looking for answers to his past and finds more than what he barganied for. And that's all I am saying.
Usually sequels are not very good, but this this film was far from it. Kung Fu Panda 2 was filled with so much action packed fighting scenes that made laugh and be amazed. The story was fun and energentic and kept you intereted in the film. I have to be honest going into it, I didn't expect much but instead was pleaseantly surpised. This film gets 4 pugs.
Can't wait for the 3rd film. :)